Colombia workers, Glencore reach deal on coal strike

Workers had been on strike since middle of last week

Operations expected to return to normal later on Friday.

Colombian coal workers and Glencore's (GLEN.L) Prodeco unit reached a deal on Friday over pay and labor conditions ending an eight-day strike at the 5-million-tonnes-per-year Calenturitas mine, a union said.

Walkouts in Colombia, the world's No. 4 coal exporter, are fairly common especially in the mining and energy sectors laborers at Calenturitas had been on strike since Wednesday last week over pay and working conditions.

"At midnight, the union and the company Prodeco reached a deal. 

Orders were given to lift the strike," Orlando Cuello, a senior official in the Sintracarbon union, told Reuters.

The pact included a salary rise of inflation plus 1.4 percent and other aspects related to working conditions, he said, adding that operations at the mine were restarting and would be back to normal levels later on Friday.

Glencore was not immediately available to comment.

Prodeco is Colombia's third largest coal exporter behind Cerrejon and Drummond.

Calenturitas mine produced 5.2 million tonnes in 2010, down from 5.7 million tonnes in 2009 while the company has an expansion plan to bring output to 13.6 million tonnes per year over the next few years, according to a Glencore prospectus.

Last year, laborers at Prodeco's La Jagua mines went on strike for five weeks before signing a two-year deal.

Better security and fiscal terms in Colombia have attracted billions of dollars in foreign direct investment, especially in the oil and mining sectors, over the last few years. 

Berny Polanía

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