22 August, 2023 – For two months, a total of 2,000 workers from IndustriALL affiliate Los Mineros have been on strike at the Peñasquito mine in Zacatecas State, Mexico. Operations at the country’s largest gold mine were halted in response to the company’s violations of several clauses of the collective bargaining agreement.
Workers from Section 304 of SNTMMSSRM, also known as the Los Mineros, began their strike at the Peñasquito mine, a subsidiary of US company Newmont, on 7 June. Their aim was to put pressure on Newmont to comply with clauses of the collective bargaining agreement relating to issues like health and safety and pay.
The strikers say that the company has failed to comply with provisions to safeguard workers’ health and to provide training to members of the health and safety committee. They also claim that the company does not immediately inform union representatives directly when accidents occur.
“For us, health and safety is of utmost importance – people’s lives are being put at risk in order to meet production targets. Each time we leave home for two weeks, we leave our families uncertain about our safety,”
the union said in an official statement.
According to the union, the company is also in breach of the collective agreement’s provisions concerning recruitment, with local jobseekers rejected because they were put forward by the union, because of some minor physical condition or because they supposedly lacked the necessary training – even though the collective agreement provides for a 120-day training period.
The union claims that the profit-sharing bonus fell far short of the mandatory 10 per cent of the previous fiscal year’s profits, and that the company underpaid workers for time worked on public holidays. The union repeatedly indicated its willingness to enter into dialogue to resolve the dispute but says that the company refuses to negotiate in good faith.
In a letter to to Newmont chairman and CEO Tom Palmer, IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie urges him to intervene to resolve the strike:
“The mining industry is increasingly recognizing the importance of creating a preventative culture of health and safety and promoting sustainability by driving positive outcomes for workers and communities. Newmont, in contrast, is acting in an intransigent manner in refusing to address these issues and resolve the two-month long strike.
“We urge you to intervene to seek a satisfactory resolution as a matter of urgency. Please note that, if necessary, we will not hesitate to bring this matter to the attention of key stakeholders with an interest in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues at Newmont.”