Pressure on Mexican Authorities as District Judge Rules Cananea Strike Legal

23 August 2010 ICEM InBrief Mexico
Mexico’s Los Mineros won a legal victory on 11 August, in their struggle at Grupo Mexico’s Cananea copper mine, as the Ninth District Judge in the state of Sonora ruled that the strike is still in legal existence. The Cananea strike, three years old last 30 July, was attacked with police force on 6 June, forcibly evicting strikers from the installations, where 3,000 federal police remain now. The large police presence protects strikebreakers at Cananea, as Grupo Mexico seeks to reopen the mine by the end of 2010.

The constitutional appeal of Los Mineros resulted in admissions of both the Mexican Attorney General’s office, and the Federal Secretary of Public Security that police had been deployed to the mine on 6 June to carry out inspections under a ministerial order. As the mine inspection had already been completed, police had no legal right to enter the mine facilities, or remove strikers. An eviction order from the judicial authority never existed.

Federal police violently take control at Cananea, 6 June
Photo – IMF

The United Steelworkers’ (USW) President Leo Gerard announced on 20 August solidarity action for Los Mineros in Cananea, with the USW placing a rotating team of international observers in the city to monitor the illegal police presence, who are intimidating strikers and protecting scabs. Gerard added that American volunteer workers arrived this weekend as observers. The rotating team will join the picket line, which is often 800-strong.

Government support for the strikebreakers continues, with local authorities accused of cutting electric power to some of the strikers’ homes, in an effort to intimidate them.

Grupo Mexico and Mexico’s Labour Ministry have refused to accept the appeal ruling, stating that the union’s contract remains suspended, and that the District Judge’s decision has no effect as the eviction of the strikers has already occurred.

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