Union members at the Antamina mine in Peru have decided to start an indefinite strike on 10 November in support of demands for improvements in working conditions and a greater share of company profits. The union is affiliated to the National Miners’ Federation (FNTMMSRP).
This will be the first strike at Antamina, in which BHP Billiton Ltd and Glencore Xstrata each have a 33.75 per cent stake. The mine is located at 4,300 metres above sea level in the Central Andes.
The FNTMMSRP, affiliated to IndustriALL, announced that the Antamina union’s more than 1,600 members voted to strike at six meetings because of discontent about problems at the company.
The federation said that the workers are unhappy about health and safety at the mine:
- Problems redeploying workers who have suffered workplace accidents or are suffering from an occupational disease, in accordance with Law 29783.
- Lack of effective planning to reduce the excessive dust levels on the roads along which minerals are transported.
- Lack of effective planning to maintain roads during rainy periods.
- Lack of an effective procedure, with worker participation, to investigate sites where accidents commonly occur.
- Lack of an effective procedure for evacuating personnel following an accident.
- Failure to define criteria for “Restricted Work”.
The workers are also asking for fair payment for holidays and overtime; the inclusion of workers in the Complementary Miners’ Pension Fund scheme; and company compliance with the collective agreement, especially with regard to work permits, transport during emergencies, multi-use rooms for meetings and participation of the union in recruitment.
IndustriALL Global Union will be following events closely during the strike and offering solidarity to the miners’ federation and workers at Antamina in their just struggle for their labour rights.