Federation of Mining Workers of Peru, in representation of 80 grassroots organisations have agreed to go on indefinite time strike starting 30 April. What triggered the strike was a feeling of outrage nurturing the miners compelled to work up to 12 or 14 hours a day in deadly environments, to work with most of them (70%) outsourced and practically deprived of any rights, forced to follow the private system of retirements (APF) that was imposed on them and forced to put up with endless abuse while the owners of the mines accumulate gigantic wealth as a result of the high price of the minerals which are being exploited affecting all rights and the environment of peasant communities.
The mining strike is the utmost response preparing Peruvian proletariat against the offensive of the employers encouraged by the reactionary wave of the García administration engulfing from aggressions against human and democratic rights up to maintenance of the norms produced during the Fujimori days against labour rights, among other, the greatest of all, the 1993 Constitution.
In accordance with these norms, trade union leaders and activists are dismissed, the rights of union organisations and collective negotiations and all this keeps the job in a precarious condition and the salaries so low that they are an international disgrace denounced even the democratic congressmen in the USA.
García pretends to continue with this policy by putting in practice a system of “progressive access to labour rights” (meaning never). That is why he is against the General Bill of Labour now under discussion in the Congress, in spite of the fact that it merely systematises the labour legislation inherited form Fujimori for fear of disturbing the profitable business of the employers.
In 1988 and 1989, miners went on powerful strikes twice and delivered deadly blows to the first APRA government allowing the achievement of the Law of Miners’ Retirement and Miners Sole Draft. Today, the government, feeling the same jeopardy, will do their best to prevent the strike or to defeat it. The great mining employers will wield their media and will accuse strikers of terrorism encouraging repression. And exposing their alliance with the government, the national leaders of the CGTP will keep absolute silence.
Miners should not be left alone. We must surround them with solidarity and facilitate their triumph. Front of Defence, popular organisations and organisations of the youth, teachers and grassroots trade unions and even the CGTP itself, ought to emit statements, express their support and join the mobilisation to defeat the aggressiveness of the class enemies and guarantee victory. The miners’ victory can and should become a triumph of all the toiling masses and open a path for the people to definitely walk to achieve the restitution of the labour rights and mark the beginning of the end of the APRI administration.