SANTIAGO – A meeting between striking miners’ leaders at the Escondida mining firm and company executives, convened to break the logjam in negotiations and end the work stoppage for higher salaries, resulted in “complete” failure on Monday.
Escondida union president Carlos Allendes told reporters that negotiations were “nowhere” after the meeting, adding that the mining firm operated by Australia’s BHP Billiton “is maintaining its intransigence.”
Some 2,500 miners are demanding pay hikes of 7 percent and a bonus of 25 million pesos (about $38,460) each, among other benefits.
The firm is offering a bonus of 8 million pesos, no pay raise and possible cutbacks in current benefits.
The critical points in the talks include the differing benefits for older and newer employees, adjustment of workdays and the reduction in bonuses that would impact salaries by up to 30 percent.
Escondida’s Corporate Affairs vice president, Patricio Vilaplana, said after the meeting that “as long as they’re continuing the blockades (of the mine’s entrance), the minimum legal conditions that would allow resumption of the dialogue with respect do not exist.”
BHP Billiton owns 57.5 percent of the La Escondida mine, among the minority shareholders of which are US Rio Tinto and Japan’s Jeco Corporation.