June 4, 2006

Mexico miners extend Cananea copper strike

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Miners voted on Sunday to extend a
four-day strike at Mexico's giant Cananea copper mine until an
ousted union leader accused by the government of corruption is
reinstated, the miners' union said.

The strike began last Thursday when the union said owners
Grupo Mexico insisted miners work on June 1, the 100th
anniversary of Mexico's first mine strike.

The union said after the vote the stoppage would now go on
indefinitely until ex-leader Napoleon Gomez, toppled as head of
the national union earlier this year, gets his job back.

The government and some workers accuse Gomez of skimming
millions of dollars of union funds into private bank accounts.
But some union members say the government of orchestrated
Gomez's removal from the union leadership in February and
replaced him with a government-friendly boss.

"The Attorney General's office is giving false information,
accusing Gomez Urrutia of serious crimes that might dishonor
him and isolate him from the worker base, something which will
never happen," the union said in a statement.

"The decision of Mexico's miners, metalworkers and
steelworkers is clear and final," said the union. "Napoleon
Gomez Urrutia is their general secretary."

Gomez, who is in hiding, denied last week reports by
Mexico's official news agency Notimex that he had requested
political asylum in Canada.