Skip to main content

BHP Spence Workers Warn of ‘Long’ Strike Over Pay

By Matt Craze and Nathan Gill
Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) -- BHP Billiton Ltd. workers at the Spence copper mine in northern Chile are prepared to go on strike for a “long time” unless the company improves its wage and benefits offer, a union official said.

Spence workers are seeking similar terms to BHP workers at the Escondida copper mine, also in northern Chile, Daniel Ibacache, a spokesman for the union representing the workers, said yesterday in an interview from a tent where striking workers had set up camp outside the mine in the Atacama Desert.

Melbourne-based BHP offered Escondida workers a bonus of 14 million pesos ($25,718) to agree on a new labor contract before a Dec. 5 deadline, more than the 8.5 million pesos offered to Spence employees, Ibacache said. Spence workers are in the ninth day of a strike today, BHP spokesman Ruban Yogarajah said in a telephone interview.

“We are willing to resist for a very long time,” Ibacache said. “BHP has one set of criteria for Escondida and another for Spence.”

Unionized miners at BHP’s 200,000-ton-a-year Spence copper mine were offered pay increases worth 4 percent a year, less than the 5 percent for Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, Ibacache said. Spence workers are also pressing for similar benefits to their counterparts in education, he said.

Calama March

Spence workers marched through the city of Calama in northern Chile yesterday to demand better pay, after traveling in a motorcade several kilometers long from the mine. The union may also ask the government to arbitrate in the conflict.

“We’re keen to come to a mutually beneficial solution,” Yogarajah said.

He declined to comment if BHP will declare a force majeure on mine shipments. Output continues at a “reduced rate,” Yogarajah said.

BHP’s copper cathode plant is operating at a “minimum” capacity by the mine’s supervisors to avoid damage to machinery, Ibacache said.

BHP produced 172,685 tons of copper at its Spence mine in the 12 months through June 30 and aims to reach full capacity of 200,000 tons in the coming year, the company said in its annual report on Sept. 14.

Copper futures for December delivery climbed 10.4 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $3.036 a pound on the New York Mercantile Exchange’s Comex unit. Earlier, the price touched $3.0495, the highest for a most-active contract since Sept. 29, 2008.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for three-month delivery surged $174, or 2.7 percent, to $6,590 a metric ton ($2.99 a pound).


Popular posts from this blog

Moving to the Suburbs: Reducciones in Recent Latin American Historiography

In 1503, the Spanish monarchy issued its first decree for the resettlement of indigenous groups in the Caribbean so that they would “live together” and “not remain or wander separated from each other in the backcountry.”[1]

As the European conquest spread to North, Central, and South America, these new settlements – known as reducciones and congregaciones in Spanish and descimentos in Portuguese – became sites of forced labor, evangelism, experimental agricultural, and refuge. Through a series of imperial policies decreed over the next decades and centuries of colonial rule, Spanish and Portuguese officials attempted to reshape the New World, including its human and natural landscapes. How colonial historians explain this process and indigenous peoples’ reactions to it is the focus of this essay.

In a review of the recent historiography of reducciones, several trends emerge that signal a shift in our understanding of the practice. As this paper will show, one common element is that …

77-Year-Old Wall Street Favorite to Face Fujimori in Peru Runoff

By Nathan Gill and John Quigley April 12, 2016 (Bloomberg) -- The victory by Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former finance minister, for second place in Sunday’s Peruvian president elections sets up a showdown between two business-friendly candidates, part of a regional backlash against left-wing politicians.
Kuczynski, a 77-year-old Oxford-trained political economist who’s spent more than 50 years championing debt control and free trade, won 21 percent of vote with 96 percent of the ballots counted, according to the electoral office. He will face Keiko Fujimori, who won 39.8 percent, in a second-round vote on June 5.
Click here to read the full story on Bloomberg News.

Greetings From Gringolandia

Bloomberg Businessweek, March 28 — April 3, 2016
Susan Lamy and her husband, Jean Pierre, owned a successful interior design business in Westport, Conn., but they still worried about how they would make ends meet in retirement. “Just paying for the basic necessities was killing us, and we could see that there was no way that we would ever be able to stop working,” says Lamy. 
The search for an affordable retirement spot led the couple to Cuenca, a Unesco World Heritage site in Ecuador’s southern Andes. They settled there in 2013 and now live in a spacious apartment with a terrace overlooking the Yanuncay River. Lamy says she and her husband enjoy a high standard of living in Cuenca for around $2,500 a month, paid for by their Social Security checks: “This seemed to be the best possibility for having a really terrific life on a fixed income.” 
The combination of a subtropical climate, well-preserved colonial architecture, and low cost of living has made Cuenca a magnet for North Ameri…