The Mexican National Mining and Metal Workers Union representing four million workers recently gave strike notices to the labour department's arbitration board. More than 200 Mexican organisations also called for a national strike in solidarity with striking miners.
The unions have demanded that the government stay out of their internal affairs and reinstate an ousted leader, Napoleon Gomez Urrutia, accused by the government of corruption.
An accident in a coalmine in the northern parts of the country in February and subsequent repression of a mining strike further fuelled the anger of the union.
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