Steelworkers call on Mexican government to peacefully resolve dispute
TORONTO/BURNABY, Aug. 18 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers (USW) union is calling on the Mexican government to remove federal and state police forces from the Grupo Mexico mine installations in Cananea, Sonora state.
On August 11 the National Union of Mining, Metallurgical, Steel and Allied Workers of Mexico (Los Mineros) won a constitutional appeal before the Ninth District Judge in the State of Sonora. The judge ruled a strike the union began on July 30, 2007 is still in existence even though police forcibly and illegally removed the strikers on June 6, 2010.
The Mexican Attorney General's office and the Federal Secretary of Public Security have admitted that police, numbering over 3,000, were deployed to inspect the mine installations under a ministerial order - not to forcibly remove strikers. Since the mine inspection had already been completed, the police had no legal grounds to enter the facilities.
In false statements before a federal constitutional appeals judge, both the Attorney General and Federal Secretary of Public Security denied that police occupied the mine on June 6 - the date of the workers' forced eviction - even though there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
The August 11 decision grants Los Mineros a temporary injunction while a date is set for a hearing on a permanent injunction.
USW National Director for Canada Ken Neumann called on Mexican President Felipe Calderon to assist a peaceful resolution of the strike, which is mainly over issues of health and safety.
"Grupo Mexico has little respect for the welfare of its workers in Cananea, whether they are Los Mineros members or replacement workers," said Neumann.
Since June 6 at least one replacement worker has been killed in Cananea. Over 25 have been injured, some seriously.
Police have helped replacement workers operate the facilities while Grupo Mexico has announced it will expand operations.
USW Western Canada Director Stephen Hunt says that Grupo Mexico's plans are premature.
"The police attacked the miners with clubs, tear gas and helicopters on June 6," says Hunt. "Now Los Mineros members are asking them to peacefully leave."
Currently over 800 Los Mineros members and community supporters are before the installations' main gates as they peacefully wait for police to leave the premises.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: For further information: Ken Neumann, 416-487-1571 or 416-558-2510; Stephen Hunt, 519-683-1117 or 604-816-2554