Chile’s Lomas Bayas miners say to end strike

SANTIAGO, May 14 (Reuters) – Mine workers at Xstrata’s Lomas Bayas copper deposit in northern Chile called an end to their nine-day strike over wages and will return to work Friday, a union leader said Thursday. The Lomas Bayas deposit, in Chile’s Atacama desert, has annual output capacity of around 75,000 tonnes of copper. Chile is the world’s biggest producer of the metal. “We reached an agreement late last night,” said union leader Marcos Barrera. “We ended up with a 4 percent plus inflation (pay raise) and 1 percent was added to the production bonus.” He added, “We’ll resume operations tomorrow.” The mine workers, who blocked access to the deposit during the strike, were demanding a rise of 6 percent over inflation, but Xstrata offered a raise of 4 percent over inflation, plus improvements in health and education benefits. During the strike, the company organized airlift transportation for food and medical supplies between the city of Antofagasta and the mine. The company said it will assess later the impact of the strike on the deposit’s production.


Reporting by Manuel Farias; Writing by Patricia Velez; Editing by John Picinich

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