Peru's mine workers may vote tomorrow on a national strike to push for legislation on better pensions, profit-sharing and rights for subcontracted labor.
The unions, which held two national strikes last year, met today to discuss a work stoppage to pressure Congress on passing new labor laws, Cirilo Yarihuaman, a federation spokesman, said in a telephone interview from Lima. The group represents about 28,000 miners and 70 unions.
``We're going to set a strike date to speed up legislation,'' Yarihuaman said. ``We haven't seen much progress on these bills.''
Strikes last year cut copper output in Peru, Chile and Mexico. The price of the metal has doubled in the past three years, partly because of labor disputes and supply disruptions. Workers at Southern Copper Corp. (SCCO:US)'s largest mine in Mexico ended a five-month strike Jan. 11.
Peru is the world's third-largest copper, zinc and tin producer, the largest in silver and fifth-largest for gold.
Carlos Galvez, chief financial officer of precious metals producer Cia. De Minas Buenaventura SA (BVN:US), said today in a interview that the company has good labor relations at its Orcopampa and Uchucchacua mines.
``It's completely out of our hands,'' Galvez said. ``If there's a strike, it'll be for political reasons.''
Copper futures for March delivery rose 7.15 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $3.298 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures reached a record $942.20 an ounce yesterday and are up 41 percent in the past 12 months.
Zinc surged 7 percent, the most since April, on concern power shortages in China will slash supplies. The price jumped $165 to $2,515 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange.
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