BOGOTA Dec 5 Colombia's principal coal railway
Fenoco and two unions representing its workers have extended
salary negotiations until Dec. 13 after a first round of talks
came to an end without an agreement, the company and unions said
If a deal is not reached by Dec. 13, workers would meet to
decide whether to move toward a strike or continue discussions,
Harold Tello, president of Sintraime union told Reuters. He said
his union had asked for a 15 percent salary rise.
A strike could stymie coal exports - together the mining
companies using the track produce more than half of Colombia's
annual output of roughly 85 million tonnes.
"Up to now we haven't arrived at any economic deal. However,
we hope to find common ground between the company and union
organizations and end with the signature of a collective
agreement in the coming days," Fenoco said in a statement.
The first phase of talks between the company and the
Sintravifer and Sintraime unions, which represent 459 of 579
workers on the railway, expired in mid-November.
The 226-km (140-mile) Fenoco railway transports around 44
million tonnes of coal annually from mines in Cesar province to
Caribbean ports on behalf of U.S.-based Drummond Co,
Glencore PLC's Prodeco unit, Murray Energy's
Colombia Natural Resources and others.
Some users were forced to declare force majeure in 2012
because a strike prevented shipments on the line.
Colombia is the world's fifth-largest exporter of coal. Its
output target for 2016 is 85.5 million tonnes.
(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb;
Editing by Helen Murphy and Andrew Hay)