Chile's Codelco to resume normal operations after strike in solidarity with protests - union

FILE PHOTO: Workers of Codelco's Ventanas copper smelter take part in a protest after Chilean state-owned Codelco revealed it evaluated the closure of the facility in Ventanas, Chile October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile’s copper workers’ federation said it would halt a strike at the operations at state miner Codelco after negotiations with the government.

The Copper Workers Federation (FTC), which includes unionized workers from each of Codelco’s divisions, agreed late on Tuesday to join the general, nation-wide strike along with other sectors, including teachers and public employees in a show of support for protesters’ demands for action to tackle persistent inequality in Chile.

Juan Olguín, the president of the FTC, said the union had urged government to end the state of emergency rolled out by President Sebastian Pinera around the country since Saturday to combat riots, arson attacks and looting that have left at least 16 people dead and seen more than 6,000 arrested.

Olguin acknowledged his newly-announced social plan as a sign it was “capable of listening to the people’s demands.”

Baldo Prokurica, the mining minister, said the country, the world’s top copper producer, would “value the attitude” of the union leaders.

Asked about the impact of Wednesday’s strike on Codelco’s production, he said: “It’s too early to make an evaluation.”

Codelco said earlier on Wednesday that six of its eight divisions were carrying on with the “majority of their operations.”

Reporting by Fabian Cambero; writing by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Marguerita Choy