Mexican federal police move in on strikers in Cananea

IMF alarmed by reports that federal and state forces have moved into Cananea on Sunday night to execute arrest warrants against the union leaders of the Mexican Miners’ Union.MEXICO: IMF has received reports that federal and state forces arrived in Cananea on Sunday night, June 6, to execute arrest warrants against union leaders the National Miners’ and Metalworkers’ Union of Mexico (SNTMMSRM) at the Cananea copper mine in Sonora, Mexico,

The miners have been on strike since July 2007 over massive health and safety violations in the notoriously dangerous Grupo Mexico-owned mine. Following a February 11, 2010 federal court decision giving Grupo Mexico permission to fire the striking workers and terminate the labour agreement, effectively eliminating the right to strike in Mexico, some 1,200 workers occupied the mine.

It has been reported that at around 21:00 around 2,000 to 4,000 police attacked the miners who were guarding the premises, using tear gas, before moving on to the hospital and union office.

The arrest warrants are reportedly against Sergio Tolano Lizarraga, Secretary General of Section 65 of the Miners’ Union, and Juan Gutierrez Ballesteros, delegate of the National Executive Committee of the union.

Speaking to Radio AMLO, Antonio Navarrete, propaganda secretary of the union, reported that there have been clashes between police and miners. He called on all trade union organizations to move to Cananea to support the miners.

There are reports that communications with the mine have been cut off. It has not been possible to communicate with the union leaders.

The IMF again urges the Mexican government to refrain from the use of violence against striking workers. “We insist that Grupo México, the government, and the union engage in honest dialogue to address the issues that are unresolved. The use of violence of any kind will serve only to further isolate the parties,” said IMF General Secretary Jyrki Raina.Jun 07, 2010 – Anita Gardner



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