LIMA, April 4 Southern Copper
should share more of its profits with workers in Peru to avoid
an indefinite strike at its Toquepala and Cuajone mines starting
on April 10, a union leader said on Tuesday.
If confirmed, the strike would follow labor disruptions at
Peru's biggest copper mine, Cerro Verde, and Chile's Escondida,
the world's largest copper mine, earlier this year.
Southern Copper Chief Executive Oscar Gonzalez told Reuters
in an interview on Monday a labor agreement with workers was
still in force and the company was not planning to give them a
bigger share of profits, although it would seek agreement
Southern Copper, owned by Grupo Mexico,
boosted its copper output by 21 percent to 900,000 tonnes last
year on the back of an expansion at a mine in Mexico.
Raul Urere, part of a union that represents 2,200 workers at
the Cuajone and Toquelapa mines and the Ilo refinery, said this
year workers received between 13,000 soles ($4,000) and 16,000
soles in profit share, less than the 40,000 soles they received
"We hope that this is resolved by dialogue and not through a
measure of force," Urere said. "If not, we will use our right to
strike. We are also looking for better medical care and other
improvements at work."
The union threatening to strike is one of five representing
Southern Copper workers in Peru, the world's No. 2 copper
producer after Chile.
Toquepala and Cuajone, both in southern Peru, together
produced some 310,000 tonnes of copper last year, according to
"The price of copper improved last year and so did
production but we have not had better wages," Urere said.
($1 = 3.25 soles)
(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Caroline Stauffer;
Editing by Bill Trott)