SANTIAGO, July 21 (Reuters) - Labor negotiations at Chile’s Escondida copper mine, the world’s largest, are frozen without signs of progress toward an agreement just over a week before the current contract expires, the union said in an internal message to its members.
The union said mine owner BHP rejected union demands made last week, raising the prospects of a strike at the mine for the second straight year. Last year’s 44-day strike prompted a rise in global copper prices and harmed the economy in Chile, the world’s top exporter of the red metal.
“Unfortunately, in these conversations the company has rejected our counterproposal and has signaled that it is not willing to take responsibility,” said the union, known as Sindicato 1.
Escondida’s management has presented a contract offer including a $23,000 bonus to workers and a salary adjustment linking wages to inflation. Those proposals were below the union’s initial expectations.
The negotiating period ends on July 24.
Reuters Breakingviews is the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time.
Sign up for a free trial of our full service at https://www.breakingviews.com/trial and follow us on Twitter @Breakingviews and at www.breakingviews.com. All opinions expressed are those of the authors.