In Chile, nearly half a million workers voted on Tuesday (31 October) to elect trade union representatives for the first time since the armed forces took power in September, 1973.
GTV Santiago skyline
CU Newspaper headlines on election
GV PAN Printing press with workers
SV Civilians walking in streets
SV INT Workers casting votes at ballot booths
GV EXT Santiago factory
GV and SVs Workers collecting voting papers and casting their ballots (3 shots)
GV PAN INT Workers lining up inside factory to vote
CU Worker placing vote in ballot box
SCU Worker handed voting card by official and walks to booth
CU Officials sifting through cards
SV Voter walks from booth and casts vote
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Background: In Chile, nearly half a million workers voted on Tuesday (31 October) to elect trade union representatives for the first time since the armed forces took power in September, 1973.
SYNOPSIS: The majority of Chile's workers live in and around the capital city, Santiago. Here, news of the first trade union elections in nearly five years made big news in the newspapers.
The government, which is headed by General Augusto Pinochet, issued instructions that the voting cause as little public disruption as possible. On government orders, all voting activities were to be held at the place of work -- and during the hours between 8.30 in the morning and 10 o'clock at night. In addition, all balloting was to be under the supervision of more than 2,000 government officials.
The elections came less than two weeks after the government had outlawed seven labour unions. The unions, which represented thousands of workers in the agricultural and industrial sectors, also had their property seized.
A government statement said the seven unions were banned because their actions showed they were being guided by foreign influences, and were following Marxist doctrines.
Official estimates said more than 450,000 workers, all employed by companies in the private sector, voted in Tuesday's elections. In all, more than 3,000 trade union officials were elected.