Parties representing coal mining company Cerrejon and workers’ union Sintracarbon on Monday signed a three year labour agreement, bringing to an end a 32 day long strike at the largest coal mine in the country.
The workers have reportedly signed a 3 year deal, giving them a bonus of $7,000 and a pay rise of 5.1% for the first year followed by inflation based increases for the following two years. Sintracarbon has also pointed towards progress towards protecting workers’ health, housing, and education rights, along with improving conditions for temporary workers.
Workers have been on strike since February 7, demanding increased compensation, better health cover and improved work conditions. The strike, the cost of which had reportedly risen to $96 million, experienced several delays before reaching its conclusion.
The union’s initial demand for an 8.5% raise in workers’ salaries was countered with a 5% offer from the company. While both sides showed a willingness to close the gap, negotiations were suspended on February 17 due to the union’s refusal to accept a fixed deadline for an agreement.
Sintracarbon union president Igor Diaz described the union’s dissatisfaction with the suspension, telling Reuters in an interview that “Cerrejon left the table”, a point which Juan Carlos Restrepo, Cerrejon’s vice-president of public affairs, refuted.
The terms of the agreement were eventually outlined on Thursday, and after four days of fine tuning, the two parties signed off on it, bringing the dispute to the end.
European coal prices for 2014 fell to a record low on Thursday, once it became clear that an agreement was likely.