Mining production, principally of copper, which is the backbone of Peru's economy has come to a virtual standstill as a two week old strike of miners gathers momentum.
Mining production, principally of copper, which is the backbone of Peru's economy has come to a virtual standstill as a two week old strike of miners gathers momentum. Several thousand miners, with their families converged on Lima, the capital, on Friday (18 August) to bring their protest to the Government.
SYNOPSIS: All but one of the country's mines is now idle and the main metal refineries have stopped production, as a show of solidarity with the 50,000 members of the National Miners Federation. The strike began when the miners demanded the reinstatement of several hundred of their members throughout the country who have been dismissed from their jobs over the past year on political grounds.
The Government has offered the dismissed miners, most of whom are trade union organisers, compensation, but the men have rejected the offer. Their leaders, who say the strike will continue until the men are reinstated, are now calling for a national strike next week of all trade unionists. Its estimated that the strike has already cost Peru more than 50 million dollars in lost production. Last year the industry was Peru's biggest source of foreign exchange.
The miners want the repeal of laws which have made it too easy for employers to lay off workers; and they have another grim weapon. The country is the grip of a severe economic recession, and cannot afford a prolonged dispute.