LIMA, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Union workers at several mines in Peru will go on a 48-hour strike starting on Thursday to protest a government decree that modifies pension payments, the national mining workers federation said on Wednesday.
Ricardo Juarez, the group’s secretary general, told Reuters that many mining unions nationwide have agreed to the strike.
Union leaders with global miner Southern Copper’s Toquepala mine and Ilo refinery, iron miner Shougang Hierro Peru , and precious metals miner Buenaventura’s Antatipe mine all confirmed that workers they represent will take part in the strike.
Arsenio Perez, union leader with silver and zinc miner Volcan, said the mine’s workers will not go on this week’s strike, but that they are considering a separate strike in mid-October.
Labor leaders at other mines were not available for immediate comment.
Southern Copper said in a statement posted on the industry regulator’s website that the firm has an emergency plan it would implement to maintain the same levels of production in the event of a strike.
Juarez said a government decree passed this year broadens the number of beneficiaries in a new mining pension program, diluting eventual payments.
“It will benefit people who have not contributed to it,” said Juarez, adding that workers also oppose the change to yearly instead of monthly pension payments.
Peru is the world’s third biggest copper and silver producer and sixth biggest gold producer.
Mining workers in Peru have not staged a nationwide strike since October of 2009.