SANTIAGO, Jul 29, 2011 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- Unionized workers at Chilean copper mine Escondida on Friday rejected the company's offer of a bonus and the strike at the mine continues, a union leader said.
The strike, which began on the evening of July 21, forced the company to invoke the force majeure contract suspension clause to suspend its copper concentrate shipments earlier this week.
The 2,375-strong union held an assembly Friday where roughly 96% of the members voted against the offer, union spokesman Marcelo Tapia said.
Union president Jose Vidal told Dow Jones Newswires he couldn't comment on the offer, but Tapia noted Escondida's Friday offer was slightly lower than the one the mine made last week.
Workers want higher production bonuses and claim some of the terms in the contracts negotiated in 2009 haven't been met.
Before the strike began, Escondida offerred its workers a 2.8 million peso ($6,120) per-person bonus, which workers rejected as they were looking to get CLP5 million due to higher international copper prices.
Escondida, the world's biggest copper mine, is losing roughly 3,000 metric tons of copper a day on the work stoppage. The mine, located in northern Chile, produces around 1.09 million tons of copper a year, equivalent to about 7% of annual global output.
Global diversified miner BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP, BHP.AU) holds a controlling 57.5% stake, while Rio Tinto PLC (RIO, RIO.LN) holds 30%. The remaining 12.5% is held by a Japanese consortium led by Mitsubishi Corp. (MSBHY, 8058.TO).