Chilean workers union rejects Lundin offer at Candelaria mine, strike chances raised

SANTIAGO, Oct 5 (Reuters) - A workers union at the Candelaria copper mine in Chile rejected a contract offer from Canada’s Lundin Mining, union officials said on Monday, raising the possibility of a strike.

The offer was rejected with 94.34% of the 548 members voting against it, according to a document seen by Reuters.

The company or workers can still request government mediation to try to reach an agreement and avoid a strike.

Lundin is in government-mediated talks with Mina Union, which represents five of Candelaria’s unions, after workers rejected an earlier offer. The first phase of government mediation between the parties is due to expire on Tuesday.

“It is very difficult to reach an agreement by tomorrow. There are then five more days to see if the company is willing [to continue talking],” said Patricio Gárate, head of the 350-member Mina Union.

After five days of government mediation, the workers and the workers and the company can choose to extend talks.

Candelaria produced 111,400 tons of copper in 2019. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Richard Chang)