UPDATE 2-Chile’s Collahuasi says open to talks with strikers

* World’s No.3 copper miner invites union for discussions

* Workers shunned company previous offer to end strike

* Union mulls invite, leaders say its a “positive step”
(Adds plan for talks to resume on Monday, paragraph 2)

By Brian Ellsworth and Fabian Cambero

SANTIAGO, Nov 27 (BestGrowthStock) – Chile’s giant Collahuasi
copper mine said on Saturday it was willing to resume talks
with its union after workers shunned a sweetened bonus
proposal, easing its stance in a move that could end a
three-week work stoppage.

Two sources at the union said they expected the talks to
begin on Monday and said they would be mediated by a Roman
Catholic bishop. The strike at the world’s No. 3 copper mine
has contributed to worries about tight supplies and to copper
prices climbing near all-time highs.

“Collahuasi reiterates that it is willing to hold
collective bargaining talks with the union’s negotiating
committee,” the company, owned by Xstrata (XTA.L: ) and Anglo
American (AAL.L: ), said in a statement.

The change of tone from last week, when both sides appeared
dug in for a pitched battle, indicates fatigue on both sides
may be spurring new interest to end the walkout.


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

Timeline-Major Chile mine strikes [ID:nN04140477]

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

Graphic of world’s top 10 copper mines:



Collahuasi had offered workers a $29,000 bonus if they
agreed by Friday to go back to their jobs, but as of Thursday
had won over fewer than 15 percent of the mine’s 1,551
unionized workers. They need more than 50 percent to legally
end the strike through direct negotiations with the workers.

The bonus offer now falls to $25,000 for workers who did
not accept by the Friday deadline.

Union leaders in the past have opposed the company’s
efforts to negotiate directly with workers.

A settlement in the strike would help ease market concerns
in the short term about labor-related supply interruptions of
copper from Chile, the world’s top producer.

The next major collective bargaining talks are not until
June when Chilean state-run copper producer Codelco negotiates
a new contract with workers at the 400,000 tonne-per-year El
Teniente mine.

Traders estimate the strike has cost Collahuasi only about
1 percent of its annual output because of its use of temporary
workers. But union leaders say the mine near the northern city
of Iquique is running at 20 percent of capacity.

Workers at Codelco’s Radomiro Tomic on Wednesday agreed to
nearly $31,000 in bonuses and benefits, which could set the
upper limit for Collahuasi workers if negotiations resume.

Miners at Antofagasta Plc’s (ANTO.L: ) Los Pelambres mine
this month settled for $28,000.
(Additional reporting by Alsonso Soto; Editing by Vicki Allen
and Todd Eastham)

UPDATE 2-Chile’s Collahuasi says open to talks with strikers