Nearly 17,000 workers at Codelco, Chile´s National Copper Corporation, went on strike on Monday to protest the eventual privatization of the mining company.

The strikers planned a national rally in Plaza de la Ciudadania outside the presidential palace, where copper miners, the teachers’ union and student federations will demand the re-nationalization of the copper mining industry.

The leader of the Chilean Federation of Copper Workers, Raimundo Espinoza, accused Codelco’s management of preparing to privatize the company.

Monday´s strike coincided with the 40th anniversary of the nationalization of the copper industry, decreed by the Salvador Allende government (1970-1973), and a date considered by the people as Day of National Dignity.

However, the privatization later promoted by the military regime of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) and strengthened during the Concertation coalition government and now by the current right-wing administration, led to the fact that, at present, 70 percent of Chile´s copper is produced by large private mining companies.

***(Prensa Latina, lunes, 11 de julio de 2011 )***