Peru miners split over strike

Workers at several sites say they will continue their protests for higher wages.

    Not all of the country's mining unions have agreed
    to suspend their strike action [AFP]

    The federation and the government were reported on Friday to have reached an agreements on matters such as outsourcing, profit-sharing, pension benefits, work shifts and labor dispute resolution.

     

    The agreements are to implemented within 60 days.

     

    Ongoing strike action

     

    But while the nationwide strike has ended, not all of the country's mining unions have agreed to suspend their strike action.

     

    Buenaventura, Peru's largest precious metals miner, faces a prolonged strike by workers at its main silver mine, Uchucchacua.

     

    A union leader there told the Reuters news agency that the strike would continue regardless of the federation's decision.

     

    Meanwhile, contract workers at the Chinese-owned iron-ore miner Shougang Hierro Peru also planned to continue striking, with a government-mediated meeting between the company and union leaders scheduled for Saturday.

     

    Workers at Yanacocha, the largest gold mine in Latin America, told Reuters their wage negotiations with the company had failed and they would embark on their own strike between May 14 and May 15.

     

    Rise in copper prices

     

    The federation of 74 unions, representing about 22,000 workers, estimated the number of workers that joined its protest at 27,000.

     

    But the country's ministry of labour said during the strike that less than 5 per cent of the mining sector's 120,000 workers joined the walkout.

     

    Metals markets have kept a close watch on the strike all week, as a walkout at the Southern Copper Corporation, one of the world's largest copper producers, caused a rise in world copper prices.

     

    Mining accounts for more than half of Peru's export earnings, and the country one of the world's top silver, copper, zinc and gold producers.

     

    Most of Peru's mines are controlled by large multi-national companies, whose profits have surged on high metals prices, leading workers to demand a greater share of those profits.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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