By Daina Beth Solomon
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday said he will ask incoming Labor Minister Marath Bolanos to meet with mining company Grupo Mexico and a top union leader to attempt to resolve labor disputes stretching back more than a decade.
Grupo Mexico, a conglomerate controlled by one of Mexico’s wealthiest people German Larrea, recently clashed with Lopez Obrador over a railway concession and has several mines where production has stalled, at times for years, amid conflicts with workers.
The San Martin lead, copper, zinc and silver mine in the central state of Zacatecas, where work stopped from 2007 to 2018 due to a strike, came under U.S. scrutiny last week for potential violations of a regional trade pact after a union known as The Miners argued that the strike is legally still in place.
The underground Taxco mines in the central state of Guerrero, which principally produce lead and zinc, have been shut down due to a strike since 2007. A strike also interrupted work at the Buenavista open-pit copper mine in the Cananea mining district of the northern state of Sonora from 2007 to 2010.
Lopez Obrador said he would ask Bolanos to meet with Grupo Mexico CEO Larrea as well as Napoleon Gomez Urrutia, the longtime leader of The Miners union that represents workers throughout the sector. He is also a senator in Lopez Obrador’s MORENA party.
“We have to seek conciliation, truly thinking of the workers, not the interests of the business leaders or the union leaders,” Lopez Obrador told his daily news conference.
He tapped Bolanos earlier this week to become labor minister in place of Luisa Maria Alcalde, who will become interior minister amid a Cabinet reshuffle as some officials vie to become MORENA’s presidential candidate.
Lopez Obrador noted that Alcalde did not have a good relationship with Gomez Urrutia, and said he hoped her successor could spur discussions.
“Now that Marath is in the Labor Ministry, we can come to an agreement,” the president said.
(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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