Union threatens nationwide strike for May 26

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mexico's national mining-metalworkers union STMMRM reported it plans to organize a nationwide strike for Monday (May 26) unless the country's labor ministry officially recognizes the union's newly elected national executive committee, including Napoleón Gómez Urrutia as its reelected leader.

The elections took place during the union's XXXV general convention which concluded on May 9.

"This is not a threat nor a demand, but a position provoked by a long history of being ignored. We workers are fed up with so much aggression directed towards us and the labor authorities trying to block or deny every act we undertake," STMMRM political affairs secretary Carlos Pavón Campos said in a union statement.

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"This is not a capricious attitude, rather it is a necessity that the law be adhered to."

Mexican miner Grupo México (BMV: GMEXICOB) and the STMMRM have a long standing dispute, heightened in 2006 when the federal government ousted Gómez from his leadership position over allegations he misused US$55mn in union funds. The highly politicized episode sparked a wave of strikes at various operations of Grupo México and across the mining and metals sector, and cut a deep divide within the union itself.

Grupo México's 186,000t/y Cananea copper mine in Sonora state has seen production severely affected since July last year when the STMMRM called a strike there and at two other company mines over issues relating to collective contracts, and mine safety and hygiene.