BOGOTA Dec 20 Two unions representing workers
at Colombia's principal coal railway Fenoco have reached a new
salary deal with the company, Fenoco said late on Tuesday,
avoiding a strike which could have stymied coal exports.
Sintraime and Sintravifer union members reached a five-year
deal for a salary increase as well as transport, education and
food benefits, Fenoco said in a statement. Together the two
unions represent 459 of 579 workers on the railway.
Mining companies using the 226-km (140-mile) railway produce
more than half of Colombia's annual output of roughly 85 million
Fenoco transports around 44 million tonnes of coal annually
from mines in northern 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
and Helen Murphy; Editing by Sandra Maler)