Canadian Mining Journal


LABOUR RELATIONS: New Mexican president asked to solve issue with former mine workers in two weeks

MEXICO – Former workers associated with the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Allied Workers of the Mexican Republic, known as Los Mineros Union, gave the new president Andrés Manuel López Obrador 15 days following his inauguration to address a conflict with Grupo Mexico that started in the late 2000s.

According to local media, following a request made by the new Interior Minister Olga Sánchez Cordero, section 65 of the Los Mineros Union decided that it would not launch a protest action on Dec. 1, 2018, but instead on Dec. 15, 2018, if López Obrador doesn’t come up with a solution to their demands.

Their plan is to occupy the Buenavista del Cobre mine, which was acquired by Grupo México in 1986. In 2007, the union started asking for payment of 5% of the sale transaction and went into a strike, which ended up in late 2009 when a federal judge ruled that a nearly three-year strike over a labour dispute was illegal. The company then canceled collective contracts and reopened the mine.

When this happened, union leader Napoleón Gómez Urrutia was accused of fraud and fled to Canada. However, he was recently elected a senator of the ruling party, National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), which means that the former workers now have a direct line of communication with the head of state.

This is why they gave the new leftist administration some time to propose solutions to the issue. If this doesn’t happen, then 650 workers will hold a general assembly and decide upcoming actions.

Buenavista del Cobre, previously owned by Compañía Minera de Cananea, is located in the northern Sonora state and once its expansion process is completed, it will become the third largest copper mine in the world.

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