Solidarity: 60 Miners Have Been Occupying a Mine in Chile for Almost a Month

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Source: Committee of Initiative for Union Unity / The Dawn News / January 10, 2017

13 de Agosto 2015/ CURANILAHUE Alrededor de 80 mineros se tomaron la mina Santa Ana de Curanilahue, en la región del Biobío, descendiendo unos 600 metros para iniciar una huelga debido al no pago de sus sueldos de julio y de las imposiciones de un año. Los trabajadores acusan que tras una reunión sostenida ayer con el empresario Rodrigo Danus, éste les manifestó que no tenía el dinero para pagar sus remuneraciones. Pese a esto, según los trabajadores, los instó a continuar con sus faenas para “generar recursos”, lo que no fue aceptado. FOTO: MARIBEL FORNEROD/ AGENCIAUNO
Photo credit: Maribel Fornerod/ AGENCIAUNO


It has been almost a month since 60 miners decided to occupy the Santa Ana Curanilahue mine, hundreds of meters deep.

Unlike other recent social conflicts like the strike in Homecenter or the imprisonment of the Mapuche machi Francisca Linconao, the case of these miners hasn’t transcended, and has been completely ignored by the national public opinion, due to the almost absolute silence of mass media.

The group of miners resorted to this method of struggle after the State repeatedly violated the agreements that had been signed and also demand that the mine, which is currently inactive, is given enough resources to operate again.

The conflict began in 2015 when the owners of the mine, businessmen Paul Fontaine and Rodrigo Danùs, decided to stop production alleging that the mine was in no condition to continue operating. Workers were left without a job and with no other opportunities to make a living.

Miners protested by going down the mine, and thereby achieved a deal with the government. The Chilean government agreed to provide them with free training and inject resources into the mine so that it could operate again, under worker control.

Celebration after a deal was made in August 2015. Photo credit: Emol
Celebration after a deal was made in August 2015. Photo credit: Emol

But since September 2016 the government has stopped to provide for training and the injection of resources was never included in the 2017 budget law. This motivated workers to occupy the mine again.

The newspaper UChile reported that “after having declared bankruptcy, the mine (which currently has no permit to function although coal is still being extracted) is being administered by a liquidator and all of the workers have been terminated, however, workers complain that they haven’t been paid accordingly. They also point out that last year an agreement had been signed that guaranteed their job stability. Miners estimate that 300 million pesos (half a million dollars) are needed to resume production”.

We believe our comrades need us. As every organized group that rebels against the system, they’re being censored, ignored, and it’s up to us to support their struggle so that it’s fruitful.

A delegation of leaders of the Committee of Initiative for Union Unity (CIUS) is currently travelling to the area, with provisions and water. Each organization also committed to contribute with money in the upcoming days.

We call upon unions to make a gesture of solidarity, either by visiting the mine or by supporting the workers with a deposit in their bank account.

Current Account 55300006328 at BANCO ESTADO to PARROQUIA SAN JOSE DE CURANILAHUE. For transfers, use RUT 80.066.526-4

The struggle of workers belongs to all of the exploited.

Solidarity with the Curanilahue miners now!

Photo credit: Emol
Photo credit: Emol
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