Bloomberg News

Glencore Railway Union Weighs Strike as Negotiations Stall

July 16, 2012

A union in Colombia, South America’s largest coal supplier, said workers are preparing for a possible strike after wage negotiations stalled at a railway owned by a unit of Glencore International Plc (GLEN) and Drummond Co.

Management at Ferrocarriles del Norte de Colombia SA, known as Fenoco, hasn’t called union negotiators to resume talks after workers completed a vote July 13 to walk off the job, said Felix Herrera, president of a workers’ group known as Sintraime, in a phone interview today from Bogota.

Fenoco’s President Peter Burrowes said by phone from Bogota the company will seek to reach an accord, without elaborating.

The union was the second in a week to vote to strike near coal mines in northern Colombia. A union at La Jagua, a mine owned by Glencore International’s Prodeco Group, on July 7 agreed to walk off the job over salaries. That union extended wage talks today with management, Rafael Reyes, an adviser at a workers group known as Funtraenergetica, said today by phone.

Workers are demanding higher pay as production in Colombia rises to as much as 100 million metric tons this year from almost 86 million tons last year, according to a forecast by the National Federation of Coal Producers.

La Jagua and the nearby Calenturitas mine can produce 14.5 million metric tons of coal annually, according to Prodeco’s website. Fenoco carries coal from the mines to port. Glencore’s Prodeco unit owns almost 40 percent of Fenoco, while Drummond owns almost 41 percent, according to a Glencore company filing last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Walsh at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at

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