LIMA, March 12 Contract workers at Peruvian
miner Buenaventura's Uchucchacua silver mine started a strike on
Tuesday and a union leader said the action, protesting the
firing of 10 employees and pushing for better working
conditions, has halted production.
Buenaventura said in a statement
on Wednesday that workers are on strike but did not specify if
it affected output of about 324,000 kilos of silver per year.
Company representatives said by telephone that they were in
a meeting and unavailable to comment.
Marcos Hurtado, a union leader at Uchucchacua, said the
strike seeks to reinstate 10 employees fired in February.
"We are asking for them to be put back to work because we
think it was unfair," said Hurtado, adding that workers are also
pressing for better food and working conditions.
The company, Peru's largest publicly traded miner, said the
work stoppage is not related to annual negotiations with unions
and that the government did not authorize the strike.
Hurtado said all 1,500 contract workers at the mine, out of
around 2,000 workers in total, are abiding by the strike.
Workers at the mine also went on strike late last year over
the dismissal of workers.
Peru is the world's third biggest silver exporter.