Chile’s Collahuasi tempts more miners to end strike

* Strike at world’s No. 3 copper mine enters third week

* Deadline for workers to return ends on Friday

* Managers, union differ on how many workers quit strike

By Fabian Cambero

SANTIAGO, Nov 25 (BestGrowthStock) – Management at Chile’s
Collahuasi sought to lure more striking miners to return to
their jobs on Thursday as the walkout at the world’s No. 3
copper mine dragged into a third week.

A steady trickle of workers have opted to go back to work,
but time is running out for more to accept a sweetened offer
that managers hope will lure most unionized workers off the
picket line and end the protest.

Management at Collahuasi, which is owned by Xstrata (XTA.L: )
and Anglo American (AAL.L: ), offered the strikers a bonus of
$29,000 to quit the strike by Friday. Those who hold out past
the deadline will have their bonuses cut to $25,000.

The 21-day-old pay strike will effectively end if more than
half Collahuasi’s workforce accept the bonus.

The union’s online newspaper reported late on Wednesday
that a local labor court ruling may block the offer and force
management to resume stalled talks.

Mine officials said they were unaware of any such ruling
and no independent confirmation was immediately available.

Collahuasi’s dispute comes as global copper prices (CMCU3: )
near record highs, although mine managers say a contingency
plan involving temporary workers has kept output normal.

Managers say 200 workers, or 13 percent of 1,551 unionized
staff, have returned to work.

Unions estimate that far fewer have gone back to work at
the mine, which lies near the northern city of Iquique. They
say the mine is running at 20 percent of capacity.

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Take a Look-Chile Collahuasi mine strike [ID:nN27209201]

Scenarios-Strike possible outcomes [ID:nN22293304]

Timeline-Major Chile mine strikes [ID:nN04140477]

Newsmaker-Key union leader behind strike [ID:nN17140125]

Graphic of world’s top 10 copper mines:

http://r.reuters.com/deh22q

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The strike is the biggest at a private mine in Chile since
2006, and a regional representative of conservative President
Sebastian Pinera has asked both sides to resume negotiations in
an effort to overcome the impasse.

Some union leaders plan to lobby the country’s Congress in
the capital this week in an effort to rally support.

Management’s bold move to sideline the union by offering
workers a strike-breaking sweetener could embolden national
private and state mining unions, who have threatened to take
action to support the Collahuasi strikers.

However, nationwide solidarity strikes have not
materialized in the South American country, where strict labor
laws prevent workers from walkouts outside normal collective
contract negotiation periods.

Recent wage deals at Codelco’s Radomiro Tomic mine and
Antofagasta Plc’s (ANTO.L: ) Los Pelambres may encourage more of
Collahuasi workers to consider the new offer, although union
leaders say they will stay out until management resumes pay
talks.

Strike leaders say the latest pay offer is not enough, but
have not said what they want in order to end the strike. The
last offer, which was overwhelmingly rejected in October,
offered $19,000 in bonuses per worker.
(Additional reporting by Alonso Soto; Writing by Helen Popper;
Editing by Gary Hill)
([email protected]; +54 11 4318 0655; Reuters
Messaging: [email protected]))

Chile’s Collahuasi tempts more miners to end strike