April 21, 2016 / 4:55 PM / 3 years ago

Drummond to start talks with its biggest coal workers' union

BOGOTA, April 21 (Reuters) - Drummond, Colombia’s second-biggest coal producer, will next week start talks with the mine workers’ union that represents most of its labor force to seek agreement on wages, conditions and benefits, the company said on Thursday.

Some 4,905 Drummond workers are affiliated with five unions, with the biggest union, Sintramienergetica, representing 2,044 workers. Talks will begin on Monday.

Drummond last week began formal 20-day negotiations with Sintradrummond, Agretritrenes and Sintramineros.

The Alabama-based company produced 25.8 million tonnes of coal in 2015, 30 percent of Colombia’s total 85.5 million tonnes of output.

Sintramienergetica held a strike in 2013 that lasted 53 days and paralyzed production and exports of Drummond coal.

Apart from Drummond, the coal sector in Colombia is dominated by Cerrejon, a joint venture between Australia-based BHP Billiton Ltd, London- and Johannesburg-based Anglo American Plc and Swiss-based Glencore Xstrata. Prodeco, a unit of Glencore Xstrata is also present.

Last month, Cerrejon and unionized workers reached an accord to avoid a strike. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Helen Murphy; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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