(Adds comment, background)
SANTIAGO, April 3 Southern Copper Corp
hopes to dissuade workers at its Toquepala and Cuajone mines in
Peru from striking this month, as a second labor union this year
in the world's second-biggest copper producer seeks a larger
share of profits.
The company's chief executive, Oscar Gonzalez, said he did
not think Peru's labor ministry would give the green light for
the strike, adding that the firm could hire contract staff to
protect output if its workers went against the government.
"A union in a country that's facing economic problems can't
paralyze a company and keep it from generating revenues for the
state," Gonzalez told Reuters, referring to Peru's dampened
growth prospects this year amid destructive flooding. "They're
the ones who are going to look bad."
The union, one of five representing Southern Copper workers
in Peru, plans to hold an indefinite strike starting April 7 or
10, according to a company filing with Peru's market regulator.
Gonzalez said the labor agreement with workers was still in
force and the company was not planning to give them a bigger
share of profits, but it would seek agreement through dialogue.
Union representatives were not immediately available for
comment outside regular working hours.
Last month, workers at Peru's biggest copper mine,
Freeport-McMoRan Inc's Cerro Verde, downed tools for
three weeks to demand a better share of mining profits after
production at the mine doubled and global copper prices
Gonzalez added that he hopes the government of Peruvian
President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former investment banker who
took office last year, will issue a construction permit for its
$1.4 billion Tia Maria copper project this year.
The proposed mine, which would produce some 120,000 tonnes
of copper per year, was derailed in 2015 by local protesters who
feared it would pollute a farming valley and deplete scarce
(Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by Michael Perry and Joseph