Chile's El Teniente copper mine was paralysed on Friday (25 January) when its 9,800 workers walked out at midnight.
SV Mine sign ZOOM TO GV copper mine
GV PAN Utility building
GV INTERIOR Deserted warehouse ZOOM TO copper plates
GV PAN Deserted copper plant
SV Idle machinery PAN DOWN copper ingots (2 shots)
SV PAN Copper smelting plant and deserted workshop (2 shots)
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Background: Chile's El Teniente copper mine was paralysed on Friday (25 January) when its 9,800 workers walked out at midnight. The mineworkers are demanding higher wages.
SYNOPSIS: There had been no strikes at El Teniente for eight years, but at meeting (23 January) two thirds of the mineworkers voted for industrial action. The secret ballot rejected a management offer of nine per cent increase. The strikers want a 33 per cent rise in their wages.
Under Chile's labour laws the strike can last up to 60 days. In the meantime, talks between union and management representatives are continuing. The Chilian Mineworkers' Confederation has offered to mediate in the dispute.
Chile is one of the world's largest producers and exporters of copper. Its reserves total some 25 per cent of the world's total, and they are concentrated in El Teniente and one other mine.
More than 80 per cent of Chile's copper production is mined in sate owned plants. They earn a-half billion dollars (US) in foreign exchange each year, some 53 per cent of Chile's total export income.