(Adds details on contract, statement by mine president, context)
SANTIAGO, May 5 (Reuters) - Workers at the Collahuasi copper mine in Chile, owned by Anglo American and Glencore , have sealed a new contract with management that runs until 2020, the two parties said in a statement released on Friday.
Under the terms of the agreement, workers in Collahuasi’s main 1,485-member union will receive no wage raise, but each will score a significant one-time bonus of 11 million pesos ($16,400). The workers, 70 percent of whom voted in favor of the agreement, will also be offered a three-million-peso loan at zero interest.
The deal “reflects the willingness of all of us who are part of Collahuasi to reach mutually beneficial agreements, with a focus on security, productivity and sustainability,” Jorge Gomez, the president of the Collahuasi mine, said in the statement.
The agreement at Collahuasi, which starts when the current contract expires at the end of October and will last for three years, may help assuage fears of prolonged strikes at a number of Chile’s copper mines in the coming years.
In February, workers at BHP Billiton’s Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world’s largest, walked off the job for a month and a half, putting a dent in Chile’s economy and sending global prices for the red metal soaring.
Slumping copper prices have led mining companies to approach workers with offers that are seen as more austere than in years past. In 2013, Collahuasi’s workers signed a wage agreement that included a bonus and no-interest loan package of a whopping $38,000 per worker.
Collahuasi produced 506,500 tonnes of copper in 2016, making it one of Chile’s largest mines in terms of output. That represented an uptick from years past, as the mine has been able to overcome several technical and labor-related issues. ($1=671.80 Chilean pesos) (Reporting by Fabian Cambero, writing by Gram Slattery; editing by Chris Reese, G Crosse)
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