Luis Lizama, partner lawyer at Lizama y Cía and Chairman of the Seminar: Labor challenges and human resources in Mining.
“In mining and other sectors is necessaryto strengthen collective bargaining between executives and leaders”
Lawyer Luis Lizama, Chairman of the Seminar: Labor Challenges and Human Resources in Mining is Master of Law from the University of Chile with doctoral studies in the same university, in the following interview, he gives his opinion about the bill on Labor Reform and the role of the Labor Directorate considering the scenario mining is facing today, among other topics.
1. Mining is facing a complex pricing scenario. Workers have also been affected. The labor reform, in your opinion, will increaseindustrycompetitiveness and productivity or, on the contrary, will encourage conflicts?
In the mining industry (without labor reform) workers’ remuneration increased by 82% between 2000 and 2012, while productivity increased by only 36% over the same period. The labor reform (in the manner approved by the House of Representatives) will not contribute to improving the competitiveness and productivity of the mining industry. This is because the aim of the bill is to increase the bargaining power of unions considering their employers in order to workers increase their income. For this, the Government proposed to negotiate collectively through unions only and that strikes should be without replacing workers. Therefore, it seems clear that there will be more and worse labor disputes (in intensity and duration).
2.According to your experience, what should bethe role of the executives and leaders in this complex scenario and next to a legal change?
Given such a complex and uncertain scenario, it seems essential to promote a bargain agreement between unions and companies in order to address these issues (productivity, competitiveness, improving quality of life and employee benefits). Regarding collective bargaining,the industry has always developed labor flexibility necessary to produce more and better. And I mean exceptional workday agreements, operational continuity bonuses, emergency call bonuses, convention to regulate the exercise of maternity rights in mining operations, etc. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen collective bargaining as a process to achieve mutually beneficial agreements, considering that the companies’ prospects over time are associated with competitiveness and productivity.
3. In the case that the strike without replacementbe adopted, couldcollective bargaining in contracting companies affect principal mining companies?
Until now and in the way bill is approved: strike of a contractor will affect the principal. This, because, without a rule expressing otherwise in a legal text, an employment judge could construe that the principal can get the service provided by the contractor in strike through another company or that constitutes a replacement of strikers by itself.
4. What should be the role of the Labor Directorate regarding the difficult scenario faced by mining?
I think the Labor Directorate plays an important role through conciliation and mediation of labor disputes. For the same reason: in a complex and uncertain scenario, the opportunity necessary to close the gap and prevent conflict seems to be favorable.