One-day stoppage falls on 40th anniversary of nationalization law
[Translation of an article from El Mostrador of Santiago, Chile, for July 11, 2011. See original here.]
Workers in Codelco [Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile – National Copper Corporation of Chile] began a 24-hour strike this morning as a warning against the eventual privatization of the mining company.
Some 15,000 regular workers and another 30,000 contract workers are called on to participate in the strike, which the company says will entail a loss of 41 million dollars.
The president of the Federación de Trabajadores del Cobre [Federation of Copper Workers], Raimundo Espinoza, said on the 24 Horas television channel, “We have in effect a complete shutdown of Codelco; there is no production. After 24 hours we will go back into production, because this strike is a warning in the face of questions we have already presented to Codelco, in the face of the question of privatization, of the participation of this government, which has invested a minimum level of resources into the company.”
According to the leader, the stoppage includes the Chuquicamata, Andina, Teniente, Ventanas and El Salvador divisions and the central office.
“We are undertaking this stoppage because we have concrete evidence of an effort not just by Codelco but by the government to begin a secret privatization of this great state enterprise. We are going to make a presentation to the comptroller and we sent letters to the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies and to the presidents of all the political parties, giving them background on our vision of the company,” he said.
In an interview with Radio Cooperativa, the leader asserted that they will send information on this “secret privatization” to the comptroller general of the republic and to Congress.
The mobilization coincides with the 40th anniversary of the law nationalizing copper that led to the founding of Codelco. The enterprise has decided to postpone celebrating the anniversary.