Report Finds "A Serious Lack of Preventive Maintenance, Failure to Repair Equipment and Correct Visible Safety Hazards, and a Conspicuous Lack of Basic Housekeeping" on the Part of Grupo Mexico, S.A.

For more than four months 1,200 workers have been on strike at the Cananea Copper Mine in Cananea, Sonora – the largest copper mine in Mexico and one of the largest mines in the world. Mexico’s Mining and Metal Workers Union, which represents the workers, has been demanding that health and safety conditions be addressed at the mine. Cananea, located about 30 miles south of Sierra Vista, Arizona, has a long history of workplace action, including a 1906 strike that helped ignite the Mexican revolution and a bitter 1999 strike that ended in workers’ defeat. Most of the copper mined at Cananea is exported to the United States for use in electronics equipment.

Between October 6-8 a binational delegation of occupational health professionals, organized by the United Steelworkers’ Union (U.S.) and the Maquiladora Health Safety and Support Network, toured the site at the invitation of the Cananea workers. A report, released November 12, found serious occupational hazards and deliberate neglect of safety precautions on the part of Grupo Mexico, SA, the owners of the mine. The Cananea strike follows a February 2006 explosion at a Grupo Mexico mine that killed 65 miners.

From the Report: “The conditions observed inside the mine and processing plants, and the work practices reported by the interviewed workers, paint a clear picture of a workplace being “deliberately run into the ground.” A serious lack of preventive maintenance, failure to repair equipment and correct visible safety hazards, and a conspicuous lack of basic housekeeping has created a work site workers have been exposed to high levels of toxic dusts and acid mists, operate malfunctioning and poorly maintained equiplment, and work in simply dangerous surroundings.”

Read a pdf of the full repord here.
Click here for more coverage of the strike and cross-border solidarity.

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