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Xstrata Reaches Wage Accord With Altonorte Union (Update1)
Jan 6,2010 09:15CST
industry news

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Xstrata Plc, the fourth-largest copper producer, reached a wage agreement at its Altonorte copper smelter in Chile, settling a strike that disrupted supply for eight days, a union official said.

The union and management are signing the accord after agreeing on terms late yesterday, union President Abdiel Sepulveda said in a telephone interview. Striking workers at Codelco's Chuquicamata mine in Chile are also likely to accept an improved offer made by the world's largest copper miner late yesterday local time, union spokesman Jaime Graz said by phone.

Xstrata workers will receive a 2 percent increase in base pay, a bonus of 2.4 million pesos ($4,745), a production bonus of 750,000 pesos a year and a low-interest loan of 2.04 million pesos, Xstrata said in an e-mailed statement. The company said its overall offer hadn't changed since Dec. 11.

Chilean copper workers have been holding out for better pay after the meta's price more than doubled last year. This month, workers at Codelco went on strike for the first time in 13 years after failing to win bonuses matching the $28,000 per worker BHP Billiton Ltd. agreed to pay its Chilean miners.

Codelco late yesterday increased the wage offer to end the strike at its Chuquicamata mine, the state-owned company said in an e-mailed statement. Codelco offered to increase wages by 4 percent and boosted a bonus payment to 12.1 million pesos, from 11.5 million pesos, the state-owned company said.

Copper for March delivery dropped 0.10 cent to $3.405 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange at 12:03 p.m. in Sydney, compared with a gain of as much as 2.5 percent yesterday.

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