Workers have occupied installations at the Los Bronces copper mine in Chile, owned by Anglo American, one of the world's largest mining conglomerates, in a dispute over the out-sourcing jobs, where two out of three workers are now working on short term contracts, with lower salaries and less job security.
Unions, led by the Federation of Contract Workers, say this pits one group of workers against another as the company seeks to rein in costs as lower global copper prices bite into the company's finances.
In September, over 1,700 Los Bronces workers staged a one-week strike over wages. Unions said the company had offered a one-off bonus of 9 million pesos ($13,600) and an interest-free loan of 3 million pesos ($4,500). Union president Eduardo Rocco has also accused the company of reneging on promises to build a dormitory for the workers. Workers voted 858 to 508 then in favor of strike action after rejecting Anglo's offer.