JX Nippon Copper Workers to Strike as Chile Wage Talks Fail
(Bloomberg) -- Workers at the Chilean copper mine owned by Japan’s top smelter will walk off the job Tuesday after mediated wage talks with management broke down.
Members of the main union at the Caserones mine opted to strike given the company’s unwillingness to improve its previous offer, the union said in a statement.
“We regret the company’s position,” Union President Marco Garcia said. “We have exhausted everything in the dialog we had and have no other choice but to strike.”
The strike comes amid a slew of collective bargaining in Chile, including at BHP Group’s giant Escondida mine, where talks are in the final stages. For copper traders, labor tensions in the biggest copper-producing nation are blunting demand concerns stoked by a pickup in Covid-19 cases in the U.S and China.
Surging producer profits are emboldening mine workers, with host nations also looking at ratcheting up taxes to help resolve inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic. At the same time, companies are striving to keep labor costs in check in a cyclical business and as ore quality deteriorates and input prices start to rise.
Caserones, which produced about 127,000 metric tons last year, is operated by Lumina, a unit of JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corp.
There was more auspicious labor news out of the Andina mine in central Chile. Owner Codelco and unions agreed to extend talks to allow workers to vote on a new wage proposal, the result of which will be known Wednesday.
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