July 12, 2018 / 4:24 AM / a year ago

BHP makes contract offer to union at Escondida mine in Chile

FILE PHOTO: BHP Billiton Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie is silhouetted against a screen projecting the company's logo at a round table meeting with journalists in Tokyo, Japan June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - BHP Billiton Plc handed in a proposal for a new labor contract to the union at its Escondida copper mine in Chile that includes a salary readjustment linked to inflation and a $23,000 bonus per worker, the company said on Wednesday.

The offer falls short of fulfilling some of the demands laid out by the union previously.    

In its proposal in early June, the union asked for a bonus equal to 4 percent of profits in 2017, or up to almost about $40,000 per worker. It also demanded a 5 percent increase in salaries.

The company said that its offer, which hinges on the new contract being signed this month, also increases payment of a bonus for exceptional performance and benefits on education, health care and retirement.    

“We hope our workers value the effort the company is making to deliver this offer, which is sustainable,” said Patricio Vilaplana, vice president of corporate affairs at Escondida.

The union declined to provide immediate comment on what it thought of the proposal.

Labor talks at Escondida are in the final stretch before a 30-month contract expires at the end of July.

The closely watched talks come little more than one year after failure to reach a labor deal at the sprawling deposit led to a 44-day strike that jolted the global copper market.

Reporting By Antonio de la Jara, Writing By Mitra Taj; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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