Union makes move to end Freeport strike

JUBI, 23 September 2011

Trade union SPSI writes to Moffet in a move to end the strike

SPSI, the trade union of Freeport workers, has finally decided to write to the top executive of Freeport-McMoran in the US via the intermediary of Silas Natkime (who is referred to as the ‘bugnagel’ which means the ‘host’) after realising that there is not likely to be any settlement of the strike at the Freeport mine because the management of PT Freeport Indonesia has not shown any goodwill to resolve the problem.

Chairman of organisational affairs of the union, Virgo Solossa, said that the decision to write to the top management was taken at a meeting with the bugnegal at the Nemangkawi Institute of Mining in Kuala Kencana today.

‘We have drafted the letter and given it to the bugnegel to be forwarded to Moffet for negotiations to take place. Until we get a reply from Moffet, we will not return to work. This is our final move and we hope that this will bring about an end to the strike,’ he said.

Solossa said that this did not mean that they were handing the issue over to the bugnegel. Everything would be handled jointly, but this was because it is only the bugnegel whose help could be sought to resolve the dispute.

The request to the bugnegel is for Moffet to make recommendations as soon as possible. When approached, the bugnegel expressed his willingness to help facilitate a resolution to the strike with the FI management.

With regard to reports that a number of employees working for the contractor at Mill Operation and Underground as well as at Grasberg have gone back to work, Solossa said the union had decided to hold a peaceful demonstration. ‘We plan to approach the police and the labour service about this plan for a demonstration. This is mainly in connection with our criticism of actions taken that do not comply with the laws in force in this country. This is particularly with regard to some remarks made by a foreign member of staff which we regard as not complying with the laws in force in this country.’

According to Solossa, the actions taken by the management since the start of the strike have failed to respect the laws of this country. But Solossa was not in a position to say when this demonstration would take place. According to Solossa, ‘the demonstration will be held together with other components in society, such as the youth, students and school-children.

The news from Tembagapura is that workers at the Mill Operation and Underground factory as well as at Grasberg went back to work last night. These are workers on contract with PT Buma, Intinaker, Inamco, Visvires and PT Trakindo.

‘Production at the Mill Operation has been going on since last night, but the products cannot be sent to Portsite because they are not of the correct density,’ according to a JUBI source who works at Mill Operation. The same source at Grasberg said: ‘There is some production by contract workers of PT Trakindo, Buma and Grasberg.’

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