Strike at BHP's Chile copper mine continues, union opposes substitute workers

SANTIAGO, May 28 (Reuters) - A strike by workers at BHP’s Escondida and Spence copper mines in Chile entered its second day on Friday, as the company uses replacement workers to ensure continued production, a union leader told Reuters.

The union’s secretary, Robert Robles, told Reuters that members would continue to hold demonstrations in Santiago. He said the company is placing substitute workers in the mines located in northern Chile, a move that the union opposes.

“Complaints were filed with the Labor Directorate for violation of the right to strike and anti-union practices,” he told Reuters.

BHP has not responded to requests about the status of its operations after the start of the strike.

The strike began on Thursday after efforts to ink a labor contract deal with the company’s management fell through, fueling uncertainty over the global supply of the red metal.

The strike at Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, and at the smaller Spence comes as copper prices have spiked amid soaring demand as the world’s largest economies revive following more than a year of coronavirus-induced stagnation. (Reporting by Fabian Cmbero, writing by Hugh Bronstein Editing by Marguerita Choy)