UPDATE 1-Chile’s Collahuasi tempts more miners to end strike

* Deadline for workers to take latest offer ends on Friday

* Pace of dissident steady, still far from majority

* Management expects more workers to take offer

(Recasts with more workers abandoning strike)

By Fabian Cambero

SANTIAGO, Nov 25 (BestGrowthStock) – Chile’s giant Collahuasi copper
mine said on Thursday it has convinced a dozen more workers to
quit a 21-day strike, still short of the majority it needs to
end the walkout as time runs out for a new wage offer.

A steady trickle of workers have opted to go back on the job
at the world’s No. 3 copper mine, reaching what the company says
is a total of 220 or 14 percent of union membership since last
Friday, when management offered better wage terms to lure
employees 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 $29,000 bonus
to quit the strike by midnight on Friday. Those who hold out
past the deadline will have their bonuses cut to $25,000.

The prolonged pay strike will effectively end if more than
half of Collahuasi’s union workforce, around 777 employees,
accept the bonus. Management expects many more workers to take
the offer in the final hours of the deadline.

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.

Union leaders say workers will stay out until management
revives stalled talks and estimate that a much smaller number
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.

“The workers have been able to remain strong despite facing
negative labor legislation and a powerful mining company,”
Manuel Munoz, the head of the union, told hundreds of workers
during a street march on Wednesday. “The company will have to
sit down and talk to us.”

Management says it will not return to the negotiating table
and that its latest offer was final.

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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 to 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, which 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.

The union’s online newspaper reported late on Wednesday that
a local labor court had moved to 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.

Recent wage deals at Codelco’s Radomiro Tomic mine and
Antofagasta Plc’s (ANTO.L: ) Los Pelambres may encourage more
Collahuasi workers to consider the new offer, although union
leaders 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.
(Writing by Helen Popper and Alonso Soto; Editing by xxxx)
([email protected]; +569 98188519; Reuters
Messaging: [email protected]))

UPDATE 1-Chile’s Collahuasi tempts more miners to end strike