Striking Peruvian miners are continuing their month-long stoppage after turning down a personal offer by President Francisco Morales Bermudez to lift a two-year-old ban on strikes in exchange for a return to work.
Striking Peruvian miners are continuing their month-long stoppage after turning down a personal offer by President Francisco Morales Bermudez to lift a two-year-old ban on strikes in exchange for a return to work. Leaders of the estimated 50,000 strikers are insisting the government meet their main demand to reinstate 320 miners sacked during earlier stoppages. While argument continues between the military government and union leaders, the miners are threatening to go on a hunger strike if their claims aren't met.
SYNOPSIS: Several thousand miners who marched on the capital of Lima last week are still living in makeshift campsites close to the city centre. Many brought their families with them and settled into wait for a government backdown on their demands.
During a debate on the strike in Congress last Friday (25 August) Senhor Ricardo Nepuri, a Trotskyite, condemned the government for making decisions and taking action which he said should be done by the parliament.
Senhor Nepuri read a resolution calling on the parliament to disassociate itself from the military government which he said did not have the interests of the people at heart. The resolution criticised the government for straying into areas traditionally the responsibility of the parliament and for taking action without consulting or advising members of Congress.
During the Congress debate military police cordoned off streets surrounding the parliament building to prevent miners and protestors from gathering outside.
At a meeting of union representatives on Saturday (26 August), strike leader Victor Cuadros accused both the President and the parliament of ignoring the miner's struggle. He said President Bermudez had broken promises to settle the grievances, and said neither he nor the government had tried to help the miners despite the many requests for them to do so. Cuadros said the striking miners realised their action was prejudicial to the peruvian economy which was dependant on mining, but it was also harming them, and they would not leave Lima and return to work until definite steps were taken to meet their demands. If quick action wasn't taken miners camped in the city threatened to go on a hunger strike.
Later at a press conference miners told newsmen they planned to extend the strike. Ricardo Chevez said unless a solution was found strikers camped in Lima would call on miners in other parts of Peru to march into the city and join it and said a general strike by unions throughout the country was being planned - all this on top of action which is already costing Peru two and a half million dollars a day.