La Oroya, Peru: Workers Unite
April 4, 2007 | No Comments
La Oroya, Peru is home to the Doe Run smelter and is one of the world’s most contaminated cities. Thanks to community organizing efforts, the workers’ union has gone on strike to protest Doe Run’s lack of transparency and accountability. Despite aggressive police repression, the strike became province-wide on April 4th. Global Greengrants Fund has supported advocacy around mining and other extractive industries in the Andes region for years. In 2005, Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental received a grant to support several organizations protecting the rights of the La Oroya community and to take legal action against the mining company for allegedly contributing to high lead levels in local children. Please read on for a press release about the latest developments in La Oroya, courtesy of Movement for the Health of La Oroya (MOSAO) and Prensa Oroya.
To find out more about what Greengrants has supported in the area, read a journal written by staff member Helen Gemmill on her recent travels to the region.
Doe Run Peru Plant Workers Begin Strike, Block Highway
– For Immediate Release –
April 2, 2007, La Oroya, Peru — The General Confederation of Mine and Metal Workers of Peru announced today that workers of Doe Run Peru began a strike due to discrepancies in the distribution of company profit sharing, a contractual obligation of the company. The strike was announced after last week’s failed meeting between the workers’ union and the Labor Ministry.
According to Peruvian press reports, more than 800 DRP workers blocked the Central Highway for several hours last Saturday.
According to Anibal Carhuapoma, the Doe Run worker’s union General Secretary, “almost allâ€ of the 1900 union workers were participating in the strike.”
On March 20, more than 1000 workers from the La Oroya metallurgical complex’s four workers’ union agreed to the strike, due to the Company’s failure to explain its irregular payments to workers for profit-sharing. The demands come at a time when company profits are at an all-time high of $125-150 million for the 12 month period ending 31 October 2006, according to documents filed by Doe Run with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This amount surpasses Doe Run’s previous year’s profits of $46 million.
The workers’ union has asked Doe Run for financial documents from 2006 to account for the lower-than-expected workers’ profit-sharing payments. They are asking that contracted workers who are not currently on payroll being duly incorporated and that recently fired workers be reinstated.
The strike is the first time local religious, health and citizen groups have worked together with workers’ unions, providing the unions with access to company financial information which, while not in the public domain in Peru, is available on the SEC public web page.
In addition to the strike, Doe Run Peru management must now deal with the petition recently filed with the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights by a group of citizens in La Oroya. Last year, La Oroya was named one of the 10 most contaminated cities in the world by the prestigious Blackman Institute of New York. In addition, representatives from the Peruvian Congress’ Committee on the Environment have scheduled for this month a visit to the Doe Run smelter in La Oroya to assess company compliance with its Environmental Mitigation Program (PAMA in Spanish) after Commission hearings in January brought to light numerous incompliances in La Oroya.
Recent press reports in the United States have noted U.S. regulators’ recent efforts to pressure the Doe Run Company to reduce lead emissions at its metal smelter in Herculaneum, Missouri. Herculaneum is one of the few places in the United States that has failed to reach governmental-mandated ambient air standards for lead.
For more information about this press release, contact Alejandro Farrell: Tel(+511) 333-0152 / 9261-2286 / email@example.com
For more information about Doe Run and La Oroya, including the most recent updates on this strike, click here.