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Unions at Codelco's Chuquicamata mine vote to strike

Unionized workers at Codelco's Chuquicamata operation in Chile voted to go on strike after earlier rebuffing the miner's final contract offer, Reuters reported May 29.

According to the report, 80% of the members of unions 1, 2, and 3 — which represent nearly 3,000 workers and make up over 80% of the workforce at the operation — rejected the final offer, which included a US$14,150 bonus per worker and a 1.2% salary raise. The final deal proposed bonuses that were about US$5,500 less per worker against an earlier offer that was rejected by workers.

Either Codelco or the unions may call for government mediation to try to avoid a strike at Chuquicamata.

The state-run miner began underground mining operations at Chuquicamata in April as part of a 10-year, US$40 billion overhaul of its aging facilities to maintain output amid falling ore grades at its mines.