·  USW

MINE SHUT: Canadian Miner Excellon Locks out Mexican Union

Contact: Ben Davis, 202-550-3729; Joe Drexler, 416-544-6009

TORONTO (Sept. 30) -- The National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Allied Workers of the Mexican Republic (Los Mineros) yesterday denounced Canadian mining company Excellon Resources (TSX:EXN) for locking out its members at the La Platosa Mine in the Mexican State of Durango, resulting in a shutdown of production at the mine and the nearby Miguel Auza mill.

The Excellon mine in Mexico produces silver, lead, and zinc.

According to the Los Mineros report, some 15 members of a company-supported union occupied the mine yesterday, and 130 members of Section 309 of Los Mineros were blocked from entering by the mine manager.  About 300 Mexican Army troops, federal and state police then surrounded the mine and blocked the entrances.

From August 15-18, the workers at La Platosa held a strike to demand recognition of Los Mineros as their bargaining representative.  On August 18, Excellon and the union signed an agreement, with a representative of the Governor of Durango as a witness, that lifted the strike in exchange for the company's agreement to recognize Los Mineros as the workers' representative and negotiate a contract.

The union blamed Federal Labor Secretary Javier Lozano Alarcon for the change in Excellon's position.  "We had a good faith agreement with the company, but they appear to have caved in to pressure from the Federal government," said Los Mineros General Secretary Napoleon Gomez Urrutia.  "We just want the soldiers and the non-union people to be withdrawn so our members can go back to work."

United Steelworkers (USW) Canadian National Director Ken Neumann declared his support for Gomez.  "The company should honor its agreement, and the Mexican authorities should stop their interference in this dispute," he said.  "We will take this message to our government as well."

In August, the Steelworkers and Los Mineros formed a Solidarity Alliance linking the two unions through councils at common employers and a cross-national organizing program.

Also yesterday a Mexican human rights NGO, ProDESC, reported that Excellon had withdrawn from a process of dialogue with the Canadian Government's Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor, Marketa Evans, that was initiated after ProDESC filed a complaint earlier this year accusing the company of human rights violations.
For more information:






# # #

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222