After a meeting with 25 unions held on Monday, the Federation of Chilean Copper Workers (FTC) called a national strike to protest against the closure of the Ventanas smelter, which belongs to the National Copper Corporation (CODELCO).
The national strike seeks to defend thousands of jobs after the CODELCO board announced on June 17 that it would close the Ventanas smelter given that intoxications had been reported in the area in recent weeks.
"As copper workers, we care about Chile and we strive every day to contribute to making our country fairer and with full respect for the dignity of its citizens," the FTC said.
"Today, President Gustavo Boric's administration announces the closure of the Ventanas smelter. Tomorrow, the same thing will happen with the other CODELCO facilities."
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The Chilean workers affirm that the closure of the smelter is part of a strategy aimed at the privatization of CODELCO which is based on a conventional neoliberal argument: public companies are expensive and need to attract private investment to improve their productive efficiency.
"Faced with the attack by part of the CODELCO board of directors on the workers of Ventanas... we can only use our historical and emancipatory tool: the national strike," FTC stressed.
"The closing of Ventanas, as well as the government's strategy of creating a new smelter with private capital, constitute the starting point for the full privatization of Chilean smelters and refineries."