TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Union workers from 56 mines in Peru took part in the walkout on Wednesday, arguing that the reforms proposed by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski would make it easier for mass lay-offs, weaken inspection bodies, and loosen safety rules.
Ricardo Juarez, the leader of a national federation of miners, said the strike was “indefinite” and 90 percent of unions had joined.
“We are all on strike to ask the Labor Ministry to resolve the problems concerning workers in our country. We will not allow this reform that has been announced and with the complicity of the president to pass. Workers are saying no to labor reform and that is why we are protesting today,” a miner protester said.
The protest is expected to target mining activity in Peru, which is the world’s second-biggest copper and silver producer.
But Peru’s Energy and Mines Minister Gonzalo Tamayo said the strike’s effect “is relatively limited” and mine companies have backup plans and equipment.
Back in March, some 1,300 workers downed tools at a major copper mine in southwestern Peru, demanding special benefit payments to protect their incomes against a downturn in the metal’s price, as well as better working conditions. That strike ended two weeks later, but miners have continued to threaten with new labor action since then.
The mining industry accounts for about 60 percent of the Latin American country’s export revenues.