Chilean Copper Miners Announce Strike

Santiago de Chile, (Prensa Latina) The Chilean Federation of Copper Workers announced a strike for July 11 to oppose plans to privatize the state-owned National Copper Company (Codelco).

The management of Codelco, the biggest copper producer in the world, is preparing for privatization, said Raimundo Espinoza, a leader of the workers’ federation, FTC.
The largest company of the country is at stake and Chilean copper miners will not accept it; they will defend the national patrimony, Espinoza said.

The government’s idea of dissolving profitable state assets is similar to those of the right-wing mainstream that favors privatization, he said.

If copper miners go on strike, some 16,000 workers will shut down all departments of Codelco.

The strike was set to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the nationalization decreed by the Salvador Allende administration (1970-1973), a date recognized as National Dignity Day, when all mining operations became state property.

After the de-nationalization process promoted by the Pinochet dictatorship and successive governments, 70 percent of copper mining operations are now run by large, private miners, mostly foreign.

Copper workers not only oppose privatization, but also demand a process of re-nationalization of Chilean patrimony, what Allende called “Chile’s wages”.

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