16 December, 2020Workers at Empresa Minera Los Quenuales, a subsidiary of Glencore Finance Bermuda Ltd in Peru, launched an indefinite strike on 1 December over labour violations, mainly related to health and safety during the pandemic.
The National Federation of Metal and Steel Mining Workers of Peru (FNTMMSP) say that their members worked during the pandemic, resulting in the death of seven mine workers and 700 being infected by the virus.
The union took action as management did not respond to their demands. For example, workers are criticizing Glencore for accommodating workers in shared rooms with a common bathroom making social distancing impossible.
In addition, management has imposed illegal working hours a Constitutional Court ruling. Although the working day is 14 days of work and seven days off, in practice the company imposed a 28 × 14 rotation.
They union is denouncing the offered salary increase of 3 soles (US$0.83), which, with the inflation rate, actually depreciates salaries.
The FNTMMSP has written to Peru’s President, Francisco Sagasti Hochhausler, to ask for his intervention in the labour dispute.
The federation launched a series of mobilizations on 9 December, denouncing the violations by the mining business community, as well as the indifference of the government and authorities, who have yet to react to the letters sent by the mining federation asking for a dialogue.
IndustriALL Global Union has approached Glencore over the violations in Peru and other Latin American countries, but without a positive response. Reports show that Glencore is systematically ignoring a best practice approach to Covid-19, which would include the right to refuse unsafe work, social distancing, quarantine measures for affected workers, and respect for negotiated collective bargaining agreements.
Valter Sanches, IndustriALL general secretary, says:
“IndustriALL condemns the violation of workers' rights at Glencore's operations in Latin America, the latest case at Los Quenuales in Peru. We urge Glencore to respect the claims of the striking workers and to maintain a dialogue in good faith with the union.”