Exponor 2024

Spence Mine workers union approves legal strike

Agustín de Vicente / June 3, 2024 | 10:10
Workers manifested against Spence BHP proposal, approving the legal strike with a 99,82% percent.

With a 99.82% rejection rate and only two votes in favor of the latest offer, workers at Spence Mine experienced a historic voting day in the national mining sector, as all union members participated in the process.

The result came after the Spence Mine Workers Union presented its collective bargaining agreement proposal on Monday, April 15. The company delivered its final proposal to the organization on Thursday, May 23, which was then put to a vote by the union members.

Union leaders stated, “After analyzing the proposal presented by our employer, we can say that it does not meet the minimum standards outlined in the collective bargaining agreement, which is the result of work that included training, group work, expectation surveys, market studies, future market projections, and the company's economic evaluation.”

Workers' Demands

Regarding the demands outlined in their collective bargaining agreement, the Spence Union indicated that “some relate to clarifying agreed-upon clauses that have had a confusing interpretation, forcing us to resort to the courts. Also, clarifying fixed and variable concepts, reviewing common working conditions such as transportation, night shift pay, and indemnities.”

The rejection of the final offer is based, among other points, on “the meager real increase in base salaries, ranging from 0.4 to 1.7%, the lack of growth in concepts such as night shift bonuses, operational continuity bonuses, housing allowances, the imposition of previously unnegotiated clauses, and the company’s attempt to include clauses in the next collective agreement, such as the acceptance of personal data processing of workers, changes to historically beneficial clauses, and the company’s intention to incorporate the 40-hour workweek law into the 2024 contract.”

The union president stated, “The union members have decided to vote for a strike, a legal mechanism that allows workers in our country to continue the negotiation process and not accept the company's final offer, which does not accommodate the requested improvements and seeks to include clauses that imply setbacks or neutralize legislative advances like the 40-hour workweek law.”

“For over a year, we have been preparing for this collective negotiation. Now, the Spence Union can effectively strike on the first shift of Wednesday, June 5, unless the company requests mandatory mediation, which suspends the start of the strike for five days. If no agreement is reached during this period, the strike will take effect the next business day after the mediation ends.”

The union also noted, “For over a year, we have been preparing for this collective negotiation, considering all the legal instances, including the possibility of an effective strike, for which we are prepared.” Currently, the Spence Mine Workers Union has a total of 1,110 members, and their current collective agreement expired on Friday, May 31.

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