SANTIAGO – Contract workers with Chilean state copper giant Codelco halted work Tuesday and blocked access to several mines, demanding direct bargaining with the company instead of with the private firms that hired them.
Labor actions started at 5 a.m., led by the CTC union that represents more than 20,000 workers hired by private companies that provide assorted services to Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer.
CTC has demanded from Codelco the negotiation of a so-called framework agreement and said the state company is trying to distance itself from bargaining with contractors and sub-contractors.
“Just as it happened during negotiations in 2009, 2011 and 2013, Codelco refused to participate in the process and shifted all responsibility to its contractors, demonstrating once again its lack of willingness to dialogue,” the union said in a statement.
Codelco argues that labor relations with contract workers must be handled by the private companies that hire them.
CTC sources said workers were blocking access to the Chuquicamata, Gabriela Mistral, El Salvador and Radomiro Tomic mines in northern Chile, and the El Teniente and Andina mines in the central region of the country.
Workers are also blocking some access roads leading to the northern city of Calama, near the Chuquicamata, Mistral and Tomic mines.