The second largest coal mine Cerrejon in Colombia has restored operation on December 1 as it reached an agreement with its largest labor union, putting an end to a 91-day strike, the longest in the country's coal mining history.
Cerrejon, the largest thermal coal mining complex in the country equally owned by BHP, Anglo American and Glencore, has signed the new Collective Labor Agreement with the Sintracarbon Union, which will be in force until December 31, 2023.
This pact ensures annual salary increases will be coupled with inflation, and benefits for health, education and housing will improve as well. The company agreed to rehire 200 workers whose contracts had expired, and pay a one-time bonus of $3,000 to unionized works for signing the labor convention.
The issue of implementing a new work shift, one of main causes of the three-month strike, still failed to come to a result. Cerrejon maintains the new work shift is essential to guarantee the viability of the operation amid low coal prices and a reduction in demand, but the union argues it increases the working day, affects health and eliminates 1,250 jobs.
Cerrejon and its main union agreed to separate the discussion of the new workday from the negotiation on employee benefits, which allowed the agreement.
More than 5 million tonnes of coal production are estimated to be disrupted during the strike, which started from August 31, helping with a 47.2% slump in Colombia's output for the third quarter from 20.8 million tonnes to 11 million tonnes on a year-on-year basis.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Tammy Yang)
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