Workers at BHP’s sprawling Escondida copper mine in northern Chile voted to strike Wednesday over safety concerns, the mine’s union said. Unionized workers, who say Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, has failed to respond to repeated complaints about possible safety risks, voted almost unanimously in favor of the action.
The strike includes a partial walkout on September 12-14 for 12 hours each day, followed by an indefinite walkout that will last hours pending an agreement with BHP. reached, said the union. Chilean President Gabriel Boric said last month he wants to ratify an International Labor Organization convention on health and safety in mines after two workers were killed at a mine construction project and a hole opened near a copper mine in July. In a statement, the union said it had “contacted Minera Escondida-BHP demanding resolution of multiple persistent non-compliances, violations and asking that talks begin to resolve them immediately.”
Two week Strike in 2011, 25-Dats Stoppage in 2011 & 44-Days Strike at mine in 2017 had extremely harden international copper supply and drive prices skyrocketing.
Escondida said Wednesday afternoon in a statement that it had fulfilled all labor and contractual obligations and called the strike “illegal” because the law provides for “clear and peaceful” conflict resolution mechanisms. Regarding the allegedly unsafe conditions at Operation , Escondida BHP clarifies that it has temporarily closed the affected areas as a precautionary measure and in accordance with its protocols,” he said, adding that it had already reported these actions to the Sernageomin Mining Regulator. Other production areas “are functioning normally,” the company said. Escondida workers also threatened to walk out in March for alleged breaches of their collective agreement, which the company denied.