Labor unrest in copper mines over the past year

July 22 (Reuters) – Workers at the world’s largest copper mine, Chile’s Escondida, pressed ahead with a 24-hour strike on Friday in the latest wave of labor unrest to hit copper mines. [ID:nN1E76L0EP]

Strikes by workers across the world demanding a bigger share of record revenues have further strained an already fragile supply pipeline and propelled copper prices CMCU3 back towards the record above $10,000 a tonne hit in February.

Copper mines in Chile, Indonesia, Mexico and Zambia have been hit by unrest in the past year, while unions in No.2 world copper producer Peru called off a nationwide strike at the last moment earlier in July.

Following are some facts about labor unrest in copper mines over the past year:

July 11, 2011- Thousands of Codelco union workers staged a company-wide strike for one day to demand a bigger say in the state-run miner’s restructuring plans. Workers halted output in all of the Codelco mines in the company’s first national strike in nearly two decades.[ID:nN1E76A011]

July 2011- An eight-day strike over demands for a pay hike paralyzed production at Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold’s (FCX.N) Indonesia mine. The strike at the huge Grasberg mine coincided with bad weather that hurt output at copper mines in Chile, straining supplies and pushing prices of the key industrial metal to their highest in more than two months. [ID:nL3E7IF0SF]

July 5, 2011- Peru’s federation of mining unions called off plans for a two-day nationwide strike meant to pressure the government to implement a law passed by Congress that would create a special retirement fund for miners funded by monthly payrolls and corporate profits. The last two nationwide walkouts called by Peru’s national confederation of mining unions have failed in the world’s No.2 copper producer. [ID:nN1E7641JV]

May/June 2011 – Codelco was forced to slash output at its No. 2 copper operation El Teniente after sometimes violent protests by thousands of contract workers demanding higher wages. The protest lost strength in following weeks after hundreds of contractors returned to work. [ID:nN13288883]

April 2011 – Grupo Mexico’s (GMEXICOB.MX) giant Cananea copper mine was 90 percent ramped-up in April after returning to work in 2010 following a three-year strike. The workers’ strike that began in July 2007 closed the mine and cost the company 530,000 tonnes of production, roughly $3.5 billion, before it was ended last year with the help of police intervention. [ID:nN06206452]

March 2011 – More than 600 workers at Zambia’s Chinese-owned Chambishi copper smelter downed tools for two days to demand a pay rise, bringing production at the plant to a halt. [ID:nLDE72O0NI]

December 2010 – Workers at the world’s No.3 copper mine, Collahuasi, returned to their jobs after accepting a wage deal to end a 32-day strike — the longest-ever at a major private mine in Chile. [ID:nL3E6N6026]

September 2010 – A labor dispute between Grupo Mexico and the national miners union disrupted operations at its La Caridad copper smelter after transport of workers to the refinery complex was blocked by union supporters for over a week. [ID:nN09195133]

August 2010 – Workers at PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara, an Indonesian unit of Newmont Mining Corp (NEM.N), striked for five days after failing to reach agreement in talks about overtime pay. [ID:nJAK271972]

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