MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Peru's Mining Federation Threatens April 30 National Strike

Published by MAC on 2001-05-01
Source: MarketWatch

PERU

Peru's mining federation threatens April 30 national strike

By Rebecca Howard

23rd April 2007

LIMA (MarketWatch) -- Peru's National Federation of Mining, Metallurgy and Steel Workers is threatening to begin an indefinite national strike on April 30 if the government doesn't meet a series of demands, the head of the federation said Monday. "The strike will begin at midnight and it will be indefinite. Obviously, if there is a solution before the 30th, we will have no problem lifting the measure," said Luis Castillo.

According to Castillo, the federation presented the strike notice on Friday and met with government officials that afternoon.

A subsequent meeting will be held Monday, he said.

"We have raised the points and we expect a response today," he said in a telephone interview with Dow Jones Newswires.

Among other things, the mining federation is calling on mining companies to put contract workers on the payroll.

"The over-exploitation of these workers has been going on for too long," said Castillo. According to Castillo, only 20% of 110,000 people working in the sector are on a stable payroll.

Other points relate to laws that are currently before Congress regarding a series of labor rights.

The mining federation is also demanding a more equal distribution of company profits, said Castillo.

The last national strike took place in April 2004 when the federation lobbied the government to regulate or eliminate subcontracting.

At that time, most of the larger mines in Peru weren't affected.

On Sunday, the federation published full-page newspaper advertisements calling for the government to meets its demands, including a shorter work day.

Peru is one of the world's largest producers of copper, zinc, gold and other metals. It is the world's biggest silver producer.

Meanwhile, union workers at Peru's Minera Yanacocha SRL, one of the world's biggest gold mines, will hold a peaceful march Monday to defend their rights after collective talks between the union and company representative broke down late last week.

According to Guillermo Nina, secretary general of the union, the workers could hold a strike if the two sides are not able to conciliate.

Nina also said that workers from Yanacocha would be participating in the strike on April 30.

Yanacocha published a statement confirming that the talks had broken down but said that "we reaffirm our willingness to continue the dialogue in a constructive manner."

Yanacocha is operated by Newmont Mining Corp.

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