Peruvian mine industry workers suspend indefinite strike

The workers suspended their strike this week in order to facilitate a dialogue with the authorities on their demands

September 17, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch

On September 14, the National Federation of Miners, Metal and Steel Workers of Peru (FNTMMSP), announced the suspension of the indefinite strike that workers in the mining industry had begun on September 10, in order to facilitate a dialogue with the authorities.

“We have arranged for the suspension of the strike for this week, (…) to demonstrate once again the will to dialogue, we wanted to have a dialogue from the beginning,” said Jorge Juárez, the general secretary of the FNTMMSP.

Yesterday September 16, the federation held a press conference and union leader Juárez explained the reasons behind the suspension of the indefinite strike. He also spoke about the workers’ demands that the federation will present in the meeting arranged by the Ministry of Labour with the mining companies’ association, the National Mining, Petroleum and Energy Society (SNMPE), on September 17.

Hundreds of mining industry workers from 102 trade unions associated with the federation halted their work for a week and mobilized throughout the national territory to demand an increase in salaries, better working conditions, better employment contracts and a similar collective negotiation agreement reached with the construction sector for the mining sector.

During the four days of strike, several incidents of police repression were reported throughout the country. On September 12, in the capital Lima, the officials of the National Police of Peru (PNP), violently repressed the workers and leaders from the left-wing party Frente Amplio or Broad Front, during a march towards the National Congress. The police beat up workers and congressmen, injuring several. The police also detained 14 union leaders, wives of 2 miners and a young journalist.

On September 11, during the second day of the strike in Lima, mine workers were attacked by the police who threw tear gas canisters at them and confiscated their banners.

The Frente Amplio and the federation condemned the violent response of the state. They also announced that they would file a lawsuit against the Minister of the Interior, Carlos Morán, for criminalizing social protest and assaulting people who were exercising their constitutional right to protest.