SANTIAGO, 13 septembre (Hfrance.fr) - A Chilean union at Albemarle Corp (ALB.N) , the world's largest lithium producer, said on Monday it had rejected the company's latest offer of a contract, leaving workers to continue a march that has continued for more than a month.
The 135-member union "Albemarle Salar ", which includes about half the workers at its main production plant in Salar, went on strike in August after failing to reach a deal with the US-based lithium miner. The company maintains that the extended withdrawal has yet to reach its lithium production.
The union said in a statement on Monday that the last deal offered nothing beyond two earlier proposals which were also rejected. The union has qualified the contract offer as "discriminatory " and said it would only encourage wage inequality among its workers.
Albemarle told Hfrance.fr that he regretted the union 's decision but rejected his allegations of injustice.
"The Salar [union] aspires to a bonus for ending the conflict which is much higher than that of the other three unions with which we have successfully concluded collective bargaining," the company said in a statement.
Albemarle 's operations in Atacama, Chile are a vital source of the ultralight white l used in the batteries that power electric vehicles. Competitor SQM operates nearby.
The company, which made working agreements with its three remaining Chilean guilds earlier this year, again said Monday that itle had a "solid " contingency plan that assured him that he could continue to meet the needs of his customers during the walkout.
The union alleged that the miner flew workers by helicopter to replace the strikers, a practice it said violates union rights.
Albemarle extracts lithium-rich brine under the salt water at its Salar plant, then transforms the distilled brines into a quality lithium carbonate battery at its La Negra chemical plant near the town of Antofagasta in the Northern Chile. Report by Dave Sherwood Edited by Chris Reese
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