SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Unionized workers at BHP’s Escondida copper mine, the world’s largest, said late on Monday they would walk off the job for part of the work day on Tuesday in a show of solidarity with protests in Chile.
Escondida’s Union No.1, the mine’s largest, said in a statement workers on each of the day and night shifts on Tuesday would walk off the job for half of their working hours.
“Our workers ... have agreed in near unanimity to protest against a series of abuses and violations by the company, and to show solidarity for the demonstrations against economic and social policies that affect us as workers,” the union said in the statement.
BHP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Chile, the world’s top copper producer, has long been one of the region’s most prosperous and stable free-market economies. But entrenched inequality and spiraling costs of living ignited massive, and sometimes violent, protests last week.
Riots, arson and looting have led to at least 17 deaths, resulted in more than 7,000 arrests and caused upwards of $1.4 billion in losses to Chilean businesses.
Copper mining companies in Chile last week said nationwide riots had mostly spared production but continuing protests had hobbled port facilities, public transportation and supply chains, impacting operations.
Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Additional reporting by Fabian Cambero; Editing by Sandra Maler
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