SANTIAGO – Some 17,000 Walmart Chile employees returned to work on Tuesday after their union and management reached a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement, ending a six-day strike.
SIL union president Juan Moreno said workers would receive an inflation-adjusted pay hike of up to 5.1 percent and all employees affected by the new cross-training requirement would get an additional 3.5 percent wage increase.
Moreno said some aspects of the deal were unsatisfactory, however, including the lower-than-proposed bonus that employees would get for ending the strike.
“But we accepted the proposal given that the strike could not be sustained for much longer,” the union leader said, noting the outcome of a meeting held with members on Sunday.
Walmart Chile management, for its part, said it was not completely happy with the agreement but had agreed to it.
“As of this Tuesday, the Lider, Express de Lider and SuperBodega Acuenta brand supermarkets affected across the country will resume normal operations,” Walmart Chile said.
The strike was called after the two sides were unable to agree on wages, bonuses and other compensation.
Walmart Chile workers were seeking a 4 percent wage hike since they are being asked to perform multiple functions as the retailer automates more of its services.
Management, for its part, offered a 3 percent pay increase plus a bonus of 50,000 pesos (about $72).
The two sides did agree on a transportation bonus equivalent to two daily trips on public transit.
The giant retailer said that “during the past few years, the company has completed more than 40 negotiations on good terms, based on mutual collaboration in achieving corporate goals, promoting a good labor climate and developing the company’s people.”
The strike forced the closing of about 130 supermarkets operating under different brands across Chile.
More than 100 other stores operated with reduced hours, opening either in the morning or in the afternoon.
Walmart operates 371 stores under the Hiper Lider, Lider Express, Central Mayorista, Superbodega Acuenta and Ekono brands in Chile.