Workers at Chile's Escondida copper mine called a strike for September 22 and 24 in a measure aimed at pressuring toward better labor conditions, including an increase in salary.
According to a statement issued by the Sindicato No. 1 union, Escondida has "systematically infringed on labor norms," particularly with regards to overtime, holidays, hygiene and safety issues.
“The strike is a warning and a call to resolve labor shortcoming and irregularities. If our demands are not met we will increase the level and scale of the strikes.” The statement reported.
The Escondida copper mine, which is owned by BHP Billiton's, is the world's most productive copper mine, accounting for 20 percent of Chile's output.
According to the Chilean Mining Society (Sonami), copper production in Chile is predicted to rise by around 3 percent in 2014, which is lower than 2013 projections.
Despite modest growth, total earnings for Chile’s National Copper Company (Codelco) during the first half of the year fell 27.8 percent compared with the previous year due to lower metals prices.
The strike coincides with the recent approval of a bill which will allocate US$4 billion in Codelco company, to partly help finance Codelco's massive US$23.5 billion investment plan.
The Chilean Copper Workers' Federation, which represents most of Codelco's workers, supported the government's decision, saying it "gives clear backing to [Codelco's] ambitious and unprecedented investment plan."