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Striking Colombian miners reach new deal

AFTER a five-week walkout, workers from Glencore’s La Jagua operation have reached a two-year deal with the operator.

Donna Schmidt
Striking Colombian miners reach new deal

The workers, employees of Glencore’s Prodeco unit, initially staged a walkout on June 17.

The new deal includes a 5% increase in pay for the first year and a 1.5% increase the second, according to a statement by the Funtraenergetica labor union given to Reuters, as well as a signing bonus of 1.5 million pesos ($US806).

Glencore did not immediately issue a statement. The Prodeco arm includes the La Jagua mine as well as the Calenturitas mine, and has its own port facilities.

It has been a volatile summer for workers at Colombia coal operations.

Last month, miners with US producer Drummond Coal’s South American operations agreed on a three-year deal after a planned strike over pay and bonuses.

Sintramienergetica union representative Stevenson Avila told Reuters at the time the miners reached a definitive agreement that includes pay increases ranging from 1.5% to 4.0% above the annual inflation rate for the next three years.

Avila said in June the union was also willing to negotiate with Glencore, which at that time had been at odds with the La Jagua mine workers for more than a week but had not yet walked out.

In 2009, Alabama-based Drummond saw 8000 workers go on strike after the death of a truck operator at the Pribbenow surface mine in the Cesar Province of northern Colombia.

The most recent strike threat included workers at the Pribbenow and the Descanso mines, also in the province.

Colombia is the world’s fifth-largest coal exporter, ranking behind production heavyweights including Indonesia and Australia.

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