SANTIAGO – Contract workers blocked access to mines operated by Chilean state-owned mining giant Codelco on Wednesday to demand improvements to the so-called Framework Agreement that determines their salaries and working conditions.
The demonstrators blocked roads leading to Codelco’s Salvador, Gabriela Mistral, Ventanas, El Teniente and Andina mines, the Confederation of Copper Workers, or CTC, which represents the contract workers, said in a statement.
The new round of protests comes five days after a breakdown in talks among the workers, the servicing companies that employ them and representatives of Codelco, which the CTC says has failed to comply with its commitments in the talks.
Codelco had repeatedly pledged to guarantee an end to reprisals against workers and “anti-union practices,” but it is not living up to those promises and that is causing an impasse in the talks, the CTC said.
Codelco has said since the labor dispute began in July, when a protester was shot dead by police and several mining installations were occupied, that the contract workers need to negotiate their salaries with the service companies that hire them.
The only issues on the agenda that pertain to the state-owned mining company, the world’s largest copper producer, are those related to workplace safety and health and access by workers and their families to career-advancement initiatives, according to Codelco, which says the current Framework Agreement is valid until late 2016.