After the termination, costs for the economy in taxes, salaries and royalties totaled $ 637,000 million.
If three years ago the 51-day pilot strike cost around 360 million dollars Avianca Holdings, as revealed at the time by the then strongman of the company, Germán Efromovich, the paralysis of activities of the mining company Cerrejón, which extended for 91 days and that ended on November 30, together with the lower demand for coal due to the pandemic, has had a greater impact on the company’s income and also on the economy of La Guajira.
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According to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, between January and September the department’s thermal coal exports, which represent 99.4 percent of the region’s total external sales and which Cerrejón exploits almost entirely, reached 793 , 9 million dollars, with a significant reduction that was accentuated since the beginning of the health emergency.
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And taking into account that according to the company between September and November it did not export anything, its exports, equivalent to about 95 percent of the total coal of the department, would have added between March and November about 404 million dollars, with a reduction of 759 million dollars (2.8 trillion pesos) compared to exports for the March-November 2019 period.
In other words, of the lower sales value in said period analyzed compared to 2019, around 319.3 million dollars occurred during the three months of the strike (42 percent of the decrease), a figure that will not only affect the new goal that the company revised downwards due to the coronavirus (20 million tons for the whole year), but will imply a strong impact on public finances in terms of taxes, but also the economy of La Guajira due to the reduction of royalties and of the wages not received by the workers.
Cerrejón calculates that for each day of strike that passed, the economy of La Guajira and the country stopped receiving income of 7,000 million pesos in concepts such as taxes, royalties and salaries, among others, which indicates that the 91 days of cessation of activities due to the labor dispute had a cost in income of 637,000 million pesos.
According to Dane data and taking into account Cerrejón’s participation in exports and production of thermal coal in La Guajira, in the months of the strike (September, October and November), the mining company’s external sales would have fallen by about 1 , 2 trillion pesos compared to last year, if the average value of the dollar in that range is taken into account, which according to the Financial Superintendence was 3,761.87 pesos.
Once the longest strike in the history of the mining company has been overcome, the president of the company, Claudia Bejarano, points out that although the operation will resume with the same challenges that existed at the beginning of the year, “we are confident of having a class team that will help us overcome this situation ”.