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“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,” argued Cristián Cuevas, the leader of a union for outsourced Chilean copper workers.
He told the Inter Press Service Agency that “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.”
Mr Cuevas also claimed that over 80,000 workers in the Chilean copper mining sector, which make up two-thirds of the industry's entire labour force, are subcontracted.
There has been a strike recently to draw attention to the issue as Mr Cuevas said that “Most contracted and subcontracted copper workers earn wages of no more than 300 dollars a month. It is unacceptable for such a profitable industry to keep thousands of workers in precarious and substandard employment conditions.”
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