Following a three-month strike at the Peñasquito mine in Zacatecas, US-based gold company Newmont has submitted a proposal to conclude the strike, as reported by Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, Senator for Morena and Head of the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Allied Workers of the Mexican Republic (SNTMMSSRM).
This marks the first instance in which Newmont has sent a proposal to Section 304 of SNTMMSSRM, representing the workers at Peñasquito unit, noted Gómez Urrutia. He mentioned that the union would assess the proposal and issue a statement on Sep. 22, 2023, however, as of the time of writing, they have not yet published their response. “We are open to negotiations, but we will not allow the rights of the workers to be violated," Gómez Urrutia told El Financiero.
Gómez Urrutia acknowledged the significance of resolving the strike, as US authorities have expressed concerns about the situation. He also mentioned that he had been in communication with the US Ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, in an effort to reach an agreement between the company and the labor union. He stated that he had scheduled a meeting with Newmont representatives, but it was canceled due to the absence of a US delegation in Mexico.
According to Gómez Urrutia, Newmont’s stance is akin to blackmail, as the company has hinted at withdrawing its investment from Mexico. “In Peñasquito, they produce gold, making it the largest gold mine in Mexico. They have invested substantial funds and reaped substantial profits in past years," he added.
Newmont has constantly stated its willingness to engage in negotiations aimed at reaching a fair agreement, one that does not involve additional payments for Profit Sharing (PTU) since it has been legally and fully disbursed.
The mining company has previously highlighted the significance of maintaining operations at Peñasquito, as it stands as the second largest employer in Zacatecas with a workforce of over 5,000 employees. Newmont has also underlined that its operations have an impact on over 13% of the state’s GDP. In addition to this, CIMMGM, AIMMGM and CAMIMEX have jointly urged federal authorities to seek an equitable resolution before legal intervention becomes necessary.
On June 7, 2023, 2,800 Newmont workers demanded higher profit sharing from the company and initiated a strike. Miners from SNTMMSSRM accused Newmont of violating their 2022-2024 collective labor agreement, contending that profit sharing payments should increase from 10% to 20%.
Newmont argues that Minera Peñasquito made timely payments and called upon the union to honor the mutually agreed upon Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that was negotiated and signed by both parties in June of 2022, as reported by MBN. "Newmont manipulated and inflated expenses, including the previous year’s profit sharing (PTU) as company costs, which in turn resulted in a reduction in workers' profits this year, hence the dissatisfaction,'' Gómez Urrutia said.
According to Newmont, Ana Mestre, Country Manager and Sustainability and External Relations, Newmont, the company has upheld workers' rights and has properly administered PTU payments, providing each unionized worker with compensation equivalent to over 13 months worth of work.