The workers of the National Copper Corporation (Codelco) of Chile began an indefinite strike this Wednesday with the aim of reversing the decision of the firm’s board of directors, the most important in the sector in the world, to close the Ventanas smelter in the Valparaíso region. This closure, announced last Friday by the government of Gabriel Boric, is carried out after repeated episodes of environmental contaminationwhich affected the population of the towns of Quintero and Puchuncaví.
About 50 thousand workers represented in different unions in the country began to demonstrate against this decision, in a protest that includes intermittent traffic cuts at the accesses to the different plants. The minister and government spokesperson, Camila Vallejostated that the Executive will maintain dialogue with Codelco workers, who are still unemployed, and emphasized to the press that You cannot “put the health of the children of the communities at risk”.
“Our commitment to end the sacrifice zones has to begin to be fulfilled and this is not contradictory to the demands of the workers,” Vallejo added. However, through a statement, the workers indicated that the president of Codelco, Máximo Pacheco, and the government “have an absolute disconnection with the strategic development of the most important company in the country that belongs to all Chilean men and women”.
Prior to the start of the force measure, the Federation of Copper Workers warned Codelco and government authorities that if they “touch a worker” for expressing “legitimate discontent through the tools of the union movement, this mobilization will be radicalized”.
In the midst of the strike, Finance Minister Mario Marcel announced the signing of a reinvestment plan that contemplates the injection of an average of 30 percent of the profits corresponding to four years and seeks to prevent the operators of the Ventanas smelter from losing their jobs. worked. Codelco is a Chilean state company whose reserves represent six percent of global copper reserves.