By Julia Symmes Cobb
BOGOTA, Oct 9 (Reuters) – Proposed changes in benefits, a new schedule referred to as the ‘death shift,’ and job losses are the sticking points in talks to end a more than five-week-long strike at Colombian coal mine Cerrejon, the company and its largest union say.
The two sides this week held individual talks with the labor ministry, the first phase in a plan proposed by the government to break the impasse as the stoppage approaches its fortieth day.
The company, owned equally by BHP Group BHP.AX, Anglo American AAL.L and Glencore GLEN.L, has denied mass job cuts and benefit eliminations. The prospective shift change is key to keeping Cerrejon competitive amid its lowest export figures in 18 years and prices equivalent to 2004 levels, it added.
Cerrejon also insists the shift change – a move from a previous schedule where workers had