On August 17, workers at Minera Escondida, controlled by BHP, signed an agreement with the company to avoid an imminent strike, the company announced.
In a statement, the company said Union No. 1 informed the company about the approval of the agreement reached in the mediation process. With this ratification, the company then proceeded to sign a new collective bargaining agreement. The agreement was reached within the framework of a mediation arbitrated by the Chilean directorate of labor. The workers initially had asked for a US $34,000 bonus per worker and a 5% wage increase. Mining is one of the activities with the highest salary scale in Chile.
The unionized workers said they have managed to keep all their benefits and have been able to move forward on long-delayed issues. They also said the agreement provides security for their current health system and housing plan. Only those workers who are unionized will receive the end-of-strike bonus, as stipulated in the new Chilean labor law.
Escondida produces almost 1 million metric tons of copper per year, and, together with BHP’s Spence and Cerro Colorado, have increased their overall production by 44%.