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Albemarle plant union Atacama rejects new contractual offer, strike continues – NEWSWARDEN

September 13, 2021

By Dave Sherwood

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – A Chilean syndicate of Albemarle Corp, the world’s leading lithium producer, said on Monday it had turned down the company’s latest job offer, leaving workers a chance to continue a protracted walk. for more than a month.

The 135-member trade union “Albemarle Salar”, which includes about half the workers at its main Salar manufacturing facility, went on strike in August after failing to reach an agreement with the US-based lithium miner. The company claims the extended walk-off has not yet reached its lithium production.

The union said in a statement released Monday that the latest deal offered nothing beyond two previous proposals that were also rejected. The union called the bargaining offer “discriminatory” and said it would only favor the wage gap among its workers.

Albemarle told Reuters he regretted the union’s decision, but rejected his claims of unfairness.

“The Salar [union] it aspires to a much higher conflict resolution bonus than that of the other three unions with which we have successfully concluded collective bargaining, “a company statement reads.

Atacama’s Albemarle operations in Chile are a vital source of the ultralight white metal used in the batteries that power electric vehicles. Competitor SQM operates nearby.

The company, which concluded trade union deals with its three remaining Chilean corporations earlier this year, said once again on Monday that it had a “solid” contingency plan that ensured it could continue to meet the needs of its customers. his customers during the walk-off.

The union said the miner had transported the workers by helicopter to replace those on strike, a practice that violated union rights.

Albemarle extracts lithium-rich brine from underneath the salt flat at its Salar plant, then transforms the distilled brine into lithium carbonate for batteries at its La Negra chemical plant near the city of Antofagasta in northern Chile.

(Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Chris Reese)