Chile seeks overhaul of Pinochet anti-strike laws

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet sent a bill to Congress Monday that would overhaul strict anti-strike laws put in place 35 years ago by late dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Santiago: Chilean President Michelle Bachelet sent a bill to Congress Monday that would overhaul strict anti-strike laws put in place 35 years ago by late dictator Augusto Pinochet.

The bill would rewrite the country`s 1979 labor code, which allows employers to replace striking workers, forbids strikes outside the realm of salary negotiations and bans unions from negotiating contracts with multiple companies.

"We`re repaying our debt to Chile`s workers," the leftist president said on introducing the bill, which is opposed by businesses and supported by unions.

Currently just 14 percent of workers are unionized in Chile, one of the lowest rates in Latin America.

Bachelet, who was a political prisoner under Pinochet`s regime, has made a priority of reforming laws and policies left over from the 1973-1990 dictatorship.  

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