Workers Accuse Copper Mining Bosses in Chile
Santiago, Chile, Feb 17 (Prensa Latina) Trade union leaders from Escondida, the world''s largest copper mine, accused the Anglo-Australian firm BHP Billiton, for wanting to criminalize the legal strike and ignore their demands.
Escondida workers have been on strike since February 9 at the mine located in the region of Antofagasta, in northern Chile.
Carlos Allendes, the union's main spokesman, commented that the intransigence seemed to come from the Escondida mining company, and stressed, 'we have always been willing to talk,' after a meeting in this capital.
Allendes and other trade union leaders met with Chilean Labor Minister, Alejandra Krauss.
He considered that BHP Billiton is winning without producing. 'The only thing these companies of foreign capital do are to introduce abusive clauses to reduce workforce and keep the profits.'
The Escondida mine has reiterated in a statement that its 'concern persists in the face of the permanent blockades of the Number 1 Trade Union, which today have no possibility of entering work,' something that Allendes denied.
A court will rule on the case regarding the feasibility of allowing minimum services at the deposit, in which the guild said it was ready to comply with the ruling.
Escondida has the world's largest copper deposit and the strike has boosted the price of the red metal in the international market in recent days.
More than 2,500 workers are still on strike in the camp on the outskirts of the deposit, about 3,100 meters above sea level in the Atacama Desert.
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