Three-year Mexican mine strike comes to an end

Over 1,000 Mexican miners who were striking at the Cananea copper mine in northern Mexico have been forced out by the police.

Hundreds of state and federal police forces stormed the grounds to end the nearly three-year strike, which began because of health and safety issues.

The battle between the government, Grupo Mexico and the workers union began with a mine explosion in northern Mexico that left 63 miners dead.

Napoleon Gomez Urrutia, the Mexican union leader was forced to flee Mexico to escape federal criminal charges. Today he is in hiding in Canada.

This is the latest act of repression from the Mexican government against the democratic and independent union,” said Urrutia.

He continued, “We have been on a strike for almost three years in Cananea for better safety conditions, and health conditions and also for better wages and benefits for workers and their families.”

The Mexican government sent almost 2,000 federal police to break the strike, using physical violence and tear gas.

Urrutia said that incidents like this are not isolated and that the government and corporate relationships with workers’ unions in Mexico is dismal.

It is a continuous policy of repression from the Mexican government backing the company Grupo Mexico, which is a multi-national company, the owner of these Cananea corporate mines, the biggest corporate mine in Mexico. We have been on a struggle for three years and on a strike not only in Cananea but in another two mines of the same company,” said Urrutia.

The government sets policy to support the companies and work against the independent unions, said Urrutia.

It’s a repression policy, anti-labor policy from the Mexican government who is backing these kinds of companies against worker’s rights and human rights in Mexico,” said Urrutia.

Urrutia accredits the length and earlier success of the strike to the arrogance of Grupo Mexico, which never opted to attempt a negotiation. The continued legal battle and system of appeals also lengthened the strike.

Urrutia has accused Grupo Mexico of “Industrial homicide” and even pointed the finger at the Mexican labor secretary, calling him an accomplice.