A protest to demand the wages of more than 300 employees at the San José mine took place Friday morning in Copiapó northern Chile.
The mine is where the 33 miners were rescued from last month after being trapped underground for 70 days. It was shut down after the Aug. 5 collapse that trapped the miners, putting hundreds of employees out of work.
The owners of the San Esteban Primera company, which owns the mine, have filed for bankruptcy and have not paid the workers their salaries since the collapse. Nor have they paid the severance pay that is part of the workers’ contracts.
The government promised to help the employees find new work, but Javier Castillo, president of the Central Workers Union of Copiapó, told The Santiago Times that the government had promised the workers more than it was actually offering.
The government has given some of the employees’ job training but hundreds of workers remain unemployed.
Also, the employees are unable to find new work at other companies until their contract with San Esteban is officially terminated.
By Kara Frantzich – Santiago Times