Workers of Canadian-owned "El Mochito" Mine On Work Stoppage, Blocking Entrance to Mine

 Mining employees protest failure of Canadian company to pay negotiated salary. Photo from El  Tiempo

Mining employees protest failure of Canadian company to pay negotiated salary. Photo from El Tiempo

According to articles published in the Honduran online newspaper El Tiempo, approximately 800 mining workers employed by Toronto-based company Ascendant Resources Inc. are on a work stoppage due to grievances over their wages. The work stoppage comes as Ascendent Resources recently took possession of the “El Mochito” zinc-lead-silver mine in December 2016 from the Swiss-Belgian company, Nyrstar.

Since January 26, El Tiempo reports that the miners were blocking the entrance of the Canadian mine to demand that the Canadian company pay negotiated salaries. Journalist Belkis Argueta writes: “workers demand that their employers increase salaries, otherwise, they will not return to work … a mining worker earns 120 [$5 USD] to a maximum of 150 lempiras [$6.25 USD] a day. According to the wage scale, they should earn far more money. Mining companies with more than 151 employees must pay 9,763.51 Lempiras per month [$407 USD). This is according to the wage scale approved for 2017 and 2018 in Honduras. But employees of the “El Mochito” mine earn barely 4,650 lempiras [$194 USD] monthly when all is well. And 3,360 Lempiras [$140 USD] when the work is not going well.”

After several failed negotiations with representatives of Ascendent Resources and Honduran Minister of Labour, mining workers organized a protest and were accompanied by local residents. It is unclear if a solution has been found and since early February, there have not been any reports on the status of the conflict.