Korea Resources’ Labor Dispute Reaches ConclusionBy Fernando Mares | Tue, 08/09/2022 - 18:44
After a month of negotiations, workers decided to lift a strike at Minera y Metalúrgica El Boleo (MMB), located in Baja California Sur. The operation is owned by the Asian minerals producer Korea Resources. Workers decided to end the labor dispute amid growing concerns about the economic repercussion of the mine’s closure on the surrounding communities.
Workers of the National Union of Mining, Metallurgical, Steel and Similar Workers of the Mexican Republic (SNTMMSSRM) Section 329 lifted the strike at Minera El Boleo, within the Santa Rosalia community. Of the workers, 557 voted in favor of ending the striker, 143 voted against it and 12 votes were deemed invalid.
According to Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, Head of SNTMMSSRM and Senator for ruling party MORENA, workers will receive an 8.8 percent salary increase and gain two bonuses, one for US$394 and the other for US$246. The latter bonus counts as compensation, since the company will not pay workers for earnings they lost during the strike.
According to Ramón Monsiváis, Secretary of the National Executive Committee, SNTMMSSRM, the votes were cast freely and fairly. The voting process was carried out after a group of workers marched for restarting operations. One day later, another group marched for the continuation of the strike.
“The government of Baja California Sur celebrates that an agreement was reached between the mining union and the employers’ side at El Boleo, which lifted the strike. Congratulations!” tweeted the Governor of Baja California Sur, Víctor Castro.
On July 6, 2022, Boleo’s workers announced they would start a strike due to their low wages. According to SNTMMSSRM in May, the company offered workers a raise of 6 percent and another bonus of 0.5 percent. However, the offer was not sufficient to meet the demands of the workers, who described their salaries as a “mockery.”
SNTMMSSRM stated it was open to foster a dialogue with company representatives. During these talks, both parties could furthermore implement new systems to optimize productivity, costs and processes, although such improvements could only be possible once all 1,076 workers return to their jobs. Nonetheless, according to Rubén Rosas, Head of the Legal Department, MMB, the strike was jeopardizing the future of the operation.
Rosas added that the company has experienced economic losses in the past five years and is expected to continue this trend until at least 2023 or 2024. In 2021, the company requested US$55 million of additional funding from the South Korean government, which controls Korea Resources.