Tough labor talks could lead to strike at Escondida copper mine: union – by Anthony Esposito and Antonio De la Jara (Reuters U.S. – January 4, 2017)

SANTIAGO – Workers at BHP Billiton-owned Escondida, the world’s biggest copper mine, could go on strike in February if collective contract talks with the company are unsuccessful, union spokesman Carlos Allende told Reuters on Wednesday.

The warning came after the company rejected all the workers’ demands, Allende said. He said the proposal the company presented would cut the benefits workers receive in their current contract.

“With this attitude the only thing the company is doing is creating an open conflict because the demands were agreed on by the workers,” said Allende.

BHP Billiton said in a statement that its proposal “maintained almost all of the benefits of the current contract, adjusting it to the current reality of the company, industry and country.”

The company said it hoped to reach a mutual agreement during the talks.

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