INTRODUCTION: No early solution appears to be in sight to the strike by ten thousand workers at the El Teniente mine - the largest underground mine in the world, which produces about a quarter of Chile's copper.
SV PAN Crowds outside union meeting. Effigy hanging from building.
SV Union officials arriving.
SV Union leader Guillermo Medina speaking in Spanish.
SV Crowd applauding after speech.
GVs EXTERIOR Chanting crowd leave meeting with police escort. (good sound) (3 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: No early solution appears to be in sight to the strike by ten thousand workers at the El Teniente mine - the largest underground mine in the world, which produces about a quarter of Chile's copper. The unions have not been able to reach an agreement with Codelco the state copper company. The workforce wants higher wages and fringe benefits. They are demanding ten per cent against the management's offer of two per cent. Meanwhile, there are signs that the strike, which began on 22nd April could spread to other Chilean industries.
SYNOPSIS: Feelings ran high at a union meeting in the mining town of Rancagua. The strike is estimated to be costing Codelco some 1.2 million U.S. dollars a day in lost production.
It has also presented the Pinochet Government with its most serious challenge since it seized power in 1973. Workers demanded that union official Guillermo Medina should resign from the Government's council of state. He held the post as a personal nominee of President Pinochet. The strike is regarded as a test case for new labour contracts to be negotiated at other state mines. At one of these the union want 15 per cent and at another the workforce has rejected Codelco's offer.
Police have enforced a national ban on demonstrations. Twelve workers were arrested recently at Rancagua. They could be charged with offenses under the national security legislation if the Government decides to make an example of them. A union leader has warned that feelings of Solidarity are being awakened among the families of Chile's mineworkers.