Colombia's Drummond coal miners likely to vote for strike -union

miércoles 17 de julio de 2013 17:14 CEST

* Vote counting from 7pm local time, result hours after

* Union says pay offer nearly enough but no deal on job cuts

* Strikes could hit GDP growth after Cerrejon stoppage

By Peter Murphy

BOGOTA, July 17 (Reuters) - Workers at Drummond Co Inc's coal mining operations in Colombia were almost certain to vote in favor of a strike action late on Wednesday after failing to reach an agreement during weeks of talks over pay and conditions, a union leader said.

"The majority will vote for a strike because they're seeking better proposals from the company," Edgar Munoz, vice president of the Sintramienergetica union, told Reuters in an interview.

A stoppage by Drummond workers would mark the second major walkout in the Colombian coal industry this year after miners at rival Cerrejon held a month-long strike that began in February. Combined, the strikes could further dent economic growth in 2013, as coal is a top export earner for the Andean nation.

A prolonged stoppage at Drummond, which produces more than a quarter of the coal from the world's fourth-biggest exporter, could raise the price of European physical coal if it has an impact on supplies as buyers contemplate buying for the winter months.

Physical coal prices for delivery to Europe are currently trading around $75.60 a tonne, up from just above $70 in late June.   Continuación...