October 12, 2019 / 5:00 PM / 4 days ago

Workers at small Antofagasta copper mine in Chile set to go on strike

SANTIAGO, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Workers at small Chilean copper mine Antucoya, owned by Antofagasta Minerals, will go on strike next Wednesday after a contract negotiation failed, the union head told Reuters.

Unionized employees of the mine started government mediation talks earlier this month after the workers rejected Antofagasta’s latest offer.

“The company said it has no resources to continue negotiating,” said Cesar Garcia, the union president.

The labor leader said that although the fixed mediation period has not yet expired, a strike could no longer be avoided.

The labor-management dialogue at Antucoya, which produced 72,200 tons of copper in 2018, had not made concrete progress, sources close to the talks have said.

Antofagasta is also trying to avoid a stoppage by workers at another of its copper mines, Los Pelambres.

But the union has informed its members that no progress had been made in those talks. Felipe Franco, head of the 271 affiliate guild, told Reuters that if an agreement was not reached on Monday they would also start a strike.

In 2018, Los Pelambres production totaled 370,500 tons.

Antofagasta told Reuters that it would not publicly comment on the issue so as not to interfere with negotiations.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero, writing by Hugh Bronstein; editing by Bill Berkrot

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