Unionized workers begin nationwide strike in Peru

July 20, 2017

A nationwide strike of unionized workers at mines in Peru began on July 19 as members protested the government’s proposed labor reforms.

Peru is the world’s second largest producer of copper. The National Society of Mining, Oil and Energy, said the vast majority of workers at medium and large mining companies went to work and production was not likely to be significantly affected, however, workers at 56 mines, including the top two copper mines in the country did lay down tools, Reuters reported.

Ricardo Juarez, head of the National Federation of Mining, Metallurgical and Steel Workers of Peru (FNTMMSP).

told Reuters the stoppage will likely curb copper production at some of the country's largest mines, including BHP Billiton Plc's and Glencore Plc's Antamina Mine; Freeport-McMoRan's Cerro Verde and Southern Copper Corp's Cuajone and Toquepala deposits.

Juarez said miners want President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to drop proposed labor reforms that the union leader said would loosen safety rules, make it easier to fire workers and shift the burden of paying into an unemployment fund to workers from employers.

Peru's labor ministry has rejected the unions' request to authorize the strike, but an appeals process will likely give workers several days to continue with the stoppage before companies can hire new workers.

Workers at the federation, an umbrella group for hundreds of unions, first voted to strike in May. A nationwide strike two years ago barely affected production.
 

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