Union set to strike at Peru’s Las Bambas copper mine next week -leader

By Marco Aquino

LIMA (Reuters) -Workers at the Chinese-owned Las Bambas copper mine in Peru will kick off an “indefinite” strike beginning next week after the miner failed to deliver information on profit-sharing protocols, the union’s leader said on Monday.

Erick Ramos, general secretary of the Las Bambas workers union, told Reuters by telephone the union had agreed to go on a strike with no set end date starting Nov. 28.

“A meeting with the company was set for today to explain information regarding profit sharing, but that did not happen,” Ramos said.

Representatives for Las Bambas did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The mine, owned by China’s MMG Ltd, began operations in 2016 and is among the largest copper producers in Peru, the world’s No. 2 producer of the metal.

The union had already kicked off a strike on Sunday, which is set to end Tuesday, over the profit sharing.

The miner, as part of its contract with workers, is to share some profits every year with employees.

However, the mine “had already said that there wouldn’t be any profit sharing this year,” Ramos said. “So they’re going to have to see how to pay the workers. By contract they were supposed to have given us part of that payment in November.”

Las Bambas has pumped out around 221,160 metric tons of copper from January to September this year, a 21.7% boost from the year before, according to sources at the mining ministry.

The mine’s production has steadily increased after having to freeze operations at the beginning of the year due to roadblocks by anti-government protesters following December’s ouster of President Pedro Castillo.

A source close to the mine said the company respects labor rights “and works hard to ensure a safe working environment for its workers,” noting the labor ministry had declared the current strike “inadmissible”.

The union, which represents more than 1,000 workers, is currently registering the strike set for Nov. 28 with the labor ministry, Ramos said.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino, Writing by Isabel Woodford and Kylie Madry, Editing by Louise Heavens, Kirsten Donovan and David Gregorio)