“Temporary and subcontracted workers in the copper industry are the slave labour of the 21st century. Lacking rights and social protection, they are vulnerable and defenceless,” complained Cristián Cuevas, the leader of a union for outsourced Chilean copper workers.
“Most of our country’s subcontracted workers are struggling against the same conditions fought by workers early in the 20th century. A hundred years later, this labour regime has again become a mainstay of the neoliberal economic model,” he told IPS.
“Payrolled employees definitely enjoy decent rights, but the situation of contracted workers is dire,” Cuevas said. “For instance, at Minera Escondida (the world’s largest private copper mine, owned by the Anglo-Australian company BHP Billiton), 200 workers share four showers, and they sleep according to the ‘warm beds’ system (several workers sleeping in turn in the same bunk), a practice that should be consigned to history.”
Other London-listed companies involved in Chile are Anglo American and Xstrata.
See http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=107910.