Copper’s stunning rally continued in New York on Thursday to a high of $3.32 a pound ($7,310 a tonne), the highest since January 2014, as worries about labour-related supply disruptions in key producing regions resurface.
Workers at the Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world’s top producing mine by a country mile, fired an opening salvo in contract talks with part-owner and operator BHP that makes a quick resolution highly unlikely.
The union represents about 2,500 workers at the mine. Bloomberg interviewed union spokesman Carlos Allendes in Santiago on Wednesday:
“The company would be wrong to remain stubborn in its position that workers should earn less to give that money to shareholders.
“Workers have been educating themselves, we know the mine, the processes and our benefits inside out and they can’t fool us anymore”
The union is demanding a one-time bonus equivalent to 4% of dividends distributed to BHP shareholders in 2017.
hat works out to about $34,000 per worker. It would be the biggest bonus payout to mineworkers ever in Chile and comes on top of a general wage increase of 5%, which is more than double the inflation rate in the South American nation. BHP has until next Friday to respond.
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