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Warning strikes at BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto mine in Chile

25 September, 2014Workers at the Escondida mine and its port, Coloso, in Chile, went on strike at 8am on 22 September after members of Union Number 1 voted to stop work in response to the constant violations of Chilean law by the mine’s multinational owners, BHP Billiton and Río Tinto and the Chilean authorities’ failure to make the companies comply with the country’s legislation.

The union said: “this strike is a warning and is our response to the failure of talks with the company and the authorities to make any progress”.

The strike lasted 24 hours, but as the company made no practical proposals, workers went on strike again at 8am on Wednesday 24 September. Mass meetings at 8pm on Sunday 21 September and on Monday morning for workers leaving the night shift (shift D) were followed by a march by workers on both shifts through the mine’s installations.

Jorge Almeida, IndustriALL Regional Secretary, wrote to workers at Escondida before the strikes, supporting their struggle and demanding respect for their rights. The union called on the company “to take responsibility for the issues that led to the strike within a reasonable time frame and find a mutually advantageous solution to problems for which the company is entirely responsible”.