March 21, 2017 / 1:50 AM / a year ago

Union at Peru mine Cerro Verde says it to restart strike Friday

LIMA, March 20 (Reuters) - A strike at Peru’s top copper mine, Cerro Verde, is set to end by government order on Thursday, but workers said the stoppage would start right back up on Friday if no deal over their demands is reached with management.

Union Secretary General Zenon Mujica said that 11 days of striking had not resolved the dispute. The workers want better family health benefits and a bigger share of the mine’s profits.

The mine is operating at 50 percent because the company has found replacement workers, Mujica said. Cerro Verde is controlled by Freeport-McMoRan.

“This first strike is ending on Thursday and we will start a new one on Friday,” Mujica said.

The union, which represents 1,300 workers, will meet on Tuesday with the company and government officials to try to negotiate a deal. “It’s going to be hard because the company has been quite intransigent,” Mujica said.

Representatives of the company could not be immediately reached for a comment.

Production at the mine, which generated nearly 500,000 tonnes of copper last year, has fallen by 50 percent since some 1,300 of about 1,650 workers joined the strike, Mujica said earlier this month.

Reporting by Teresa Cespedes; Editing by Peter Cooney

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