Walmart Chile workers vote to go on strike

Shopping carts are seen at a supermarket brand of Wal-Mart company, in Santiago, Chile March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Pablo Sanhueza

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The union representing workers at Lider, Wal-Mart Stores Inc's WMT.N main supermarket chain in Chile, said on Friday they had voted to go on strike for higher pay.

“We are awaiting the final result from the work directorate, but we can say that our union approves the strike with 9,850 votes, or 63.4 percent of the total,” the union announced on its Facebook site.

Next week, either the union or the company may request government-mediated talks that would last five days to try to reach an agreement on a collective contract and avert the strike.

“As before, as a company we maintain our readiness for dialogue, and we will continue to seek an agreement within the regulatory framework,” said Walmart Chile.

The union encompasses 16,500 workers, one of the South American country’s largest unions. Some workers have been demonstrating outside stores across the country in recent months as they have pushed their demands for better pay.

Walmart Chile, the local unit of U.S. retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc, is one of the leading supermarket operators in Chile, with 380 stores.

Reporting by Rosalba O’Brien and Antonio de la Jara; Editing by Matthew Lewis and David Gregorio