Chilean copper miners labor group alleges ‘alarming’ rise in coronavirus cases – by Aislinn Laing (Reuters U.S. – June 14, 2020)

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chilean copper miners’ unions called on Sunday for a re-evaluation of the operational continuity plans of the country’s biggest miners during what they said was an “alarming” increase in coronavirus cases among workers.

In a statement signed by the union leadership of state-owned Codelco, the Mines Federation – which groups the majority of workers for Chile’s major copper mines – rejected the “business as usual” discourse advanced by miners and the mines minister, Baldo Prokurica.

“The increase in cases is alarming and demonstrates that the preventive measures implemented with health and safety protocols aimed at self-care are not working and makes it evident that contrary to what the union believed, security and isolation measures have not immunized workers from contagion,” the statement added.

The statement comes just days after unionized workers at Codelco, the world’s largest copper miner, said they were weighing walking off the job at some sites in order to implement a self-imposed quarantine after one of their members died from COVID-19.

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