Tag Archives: strike action

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS FROM THE FREEPORT DISPUTE

by Lococonut

via our partners at EngageMedia.org

A snippet of footage and chatters around the Freeport strike in West Papua. The Freeport workers’ union says it is a matter of simple “revenue transparency”, the international trade union says the dispute “has nothing to do with” West Papua politics, and a worker recorded in his video testimony that the walk-out was something “important” and worth keeping.

 05:36
video information
produced by Lococonut
produced Nov 04, 2011
FULL DESCRIPTION

The Geneva-based International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM), its Australian affiliated group Australia’s Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and the Freeport Indonesia Workers’ Union, SP KEP SPSI, met in Jakarta from October 30 to November 2, 2011.

In this video, SP KEP SPSI was represented by Airan Koibur, ICEM was represented by Information and Campaign OfficerDick Blin, and Wayne McAndrew spoke for the CFMEU.

Freeport strike: Police accused of siding with Freeport. Union given one-day ultimatum

Bintang Papua, 31 October 2011
[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]Timika: The actions taken by the police in Mimika have created the impression that the police are siding with Freeport-Indonesia, said a commissioner of Komnas HAM, the National Human Rights Commission, Ridha Saleh. In an interview with Kompas, he said that the police have warned that firm measures are being planned against the strike and the blockade set up by Freeport workers if  the blockade is not lifted within two days.

‘The measures being planned by the police reinforce the impression that, along with the money being paid by Freeport to the security forces, they are siding with the company,’ he said.

Ridha said that there was nothing unconstitutional about the strike and therefore workers should not be dispersed. The police in Mimika are going too far, he said. These measures would also  damage the negotiations now under way between the two sides  which are currently proceeding well.

‘We intend to talk to the police and ask them to abandon these measures. We also intend to speak to the national chief of police and the chief of police in Papua.’

The strike which started on 15 September is intended to persuade the company to pay attention to the welfare of the workers. The increase in wages offered by the company is not acceptable, in view of  terrain in which they work and the risks involved.

Police ultimatum to the workers:

The executive of the Freeport branch of the trade union, the SPSI, have been given an ultimatum by the police in Mimika, not to spread the strike to Mile 28, Mile 27 and Gorong-Gorong. The ultimatum was contained in a letter dated 30 October, along with a request to open access  which has been blocked by strikers. The police along with other security forces have given an ultimatum of only 24 hours, starting from the moment this request is made, for the strikers to conform with the regulations in force. ‘If this does not happen, the police will take firm action in accordance with the regulations in force,’ the letter from the police says.

The SPSI was also told to co-ordinate with the strikers  and ensure that the laws in force are not violated.

According to the police, the basis for these measures is the Criminal Code, Law 9/1998 on Freedom of Expression and Law 13/2003 on Labour Relations.

The chief of police in Mimika has also said that conditions  in the vicinity of Freeport-Indonesia are becoming less and less conducive  as a result of the strike which is, according to the police, being conducted in violation of the earlier notification given by the trade union.

According to the police, a number of anarchic actions have occurred in violation of strike regulations. Moreover, the workers have started holding demonstrations  without having informed the police, blocking access to a ‘vital national asset’ and disturbing the public order. [The police ultimatum goes on  mention a long list of laws and regulations which are deemed to have been violated by the strikers.]

The police ultimatum to the SPSI has also been sent to the governor of Papua, the chairman of the Mimika DPRP, the commander of the Cenderawasih Military Command, the President-Director of Freeport and other relevant agencies.

URGENT ALERT: Indonesian police plan to break Freeport Workers Strike

From Indonesian Solidarity (Aust)

31st October 2011

MEDIA RELEASE
Indonesian police plan to break Freeport Workers Strike.

According to Mr Albar Sabang, the Secretary of the All Indonesian Workers Union (SPSI), Freeport Indonesia Division, “four panzers, one backhoe and one bulldozer are on the way to mile 27 of the Freeport area in Mimika”. They plan to break the strike by November 1st, when the delegation of ICEM (a member of the CFMEU is part of the ICEM delegation) will meet with the Freeport unionists in Jakarta.

In a letter that was sent to SPSI, the Mimika police commander Deny Edward Siregar states that the SPSI has breached laws such as the Indonesian criminal law, and regulation 13/2003 that regulate the
workers’ conduct. In his letter the police commander says that “the strike has shifted its orientation, and become demonstrations without asking permission from the police and has blocked access to
roads that are vitally important for the national interests”. Further he states that the strikers “have moved from CP north to CP-1, Mile 27 and Gorong-Gorong”. And the strikers “have disturbed public order”. However, the Freeport Workers have followed all the right procedures in their strike while PT Freeport Indonesia has disbursed US$14 million of funds to Indonesian National Police and Military (TNI) to protect Freeport.

Gorong-Gorong is the area where Peter Ayameseba, one of the striking workers, was shot dead by the police in protests that occurred on October 10th.

The police rationale to break the strike, in addition to what the Mimika police commander has said, is that the strikers have pressured Freeport Indonesia, and gained a lot of solidarity support both in Indonesia and overseas. Freeport’s declaration this week of “force majeure” on some concentrate sales from its strike-hit Grasberg mine in Papua was another piece evidence that the strike has been effective.

Freeport Indonesia workers reportedly receive the lowest salaries among all Freeport McMoRan (FM) workers around the world, with wages ranging from US$1.50–$3.00 per hour. Meanwhile SPSI continues negotiating with Freeport Indonesia and demands to have US$7.5 to $33 per hour for workers level 1-3.

On 19th October 2011, the Indonesian military and police attacked the peaceful Papuan People’s Congress and six people were killed, more than 300 were taken into custody, the leaders accused of treason, and many others were beaten with rattan canes and batons by police and soldiers.

Freeport workers can be contacted via Yuly Parorongan as a spokeperson of the Freeport union at +6285254951253 and Frans Okoseray at +6181240492446

_____________________________________________________________________
Indonesian Solidarity is an independent, non-profit organisation that supports human rights, social justice and democracy in Indonesia, and promotes a better understanding in Australia of these issues.

DAP chairman calls for the withdrawal of police and army from around Freeport

JUBI, 13 October 2011In connection with the shooting dead of Petrus Ayamiseba  who worked at the catering department for workers at Freeport, the Dewan Adat Papua  has declared that  it is essential to withdraw army and police troops from area around the Freeport mine.

Speaking on behalf of DAP, Dewan Adat Papua, Forkorus Yaboisembut said that the chief of the Indonesian police, the chief of police in Papua and the commnder of the XVII Cenderawasih Command should withdraw all their troopa who are currently deployed in the vicinity of the mine. He said that it was important for the police and the security forces to stop exerting pressure on the company. They should also be ordered to stop exerting pressure on the workers.

‘The security forces should stop interfering in any way with the company,’ he said. ‘The two sides involved in a dispute must find a solution together. If they are subjected to pressure, the dispute will never be solved,’ he said.

He also said that the Indonesian govrnment should urge the company to provide a clarification about its  revenues. ‘If the government can convince the company to review the wages that they  pay to the workers, the dispute can be speedily resolved,’ he said.

Meanwhile, the lawyer, Yan Christian Warinussy said that the shooting of Petrus Ayamiseba was a gross violation of human rights, and he hoped that the Papua branch of the National Human Rights Commission would speedily hold a meeting with  the chief of police in Papua, Police Inspector-General  Bigman Lukkaman Tobing to press for this shooting incident to be resolved in the human rights court. He said that if this does not happen,  the police will claim that this was nothing more than a criminal act.

He want on to say that the shooting to death was a breach of Law 39/1998 regarding safeguarding actions undertaken by the people.

Warinussy also said that  the company should halt all their provocative actions. ‘The company and the workers should sit down together to discuss the rights of the workers.’

Warinussy said that he was currently in Timika and was carrying out his own investigations and he said that he would be having a meeting with the chief of police in Mimika and with the company. The results would be conveyed to the chairman of the  Papuan branch of the National Human Rights Commission. Matius Murib.

Petrus Ayamiseba who was 36 years old died when he was struck by a burning rod of tin belonging to the police while he was taking part in a demonstration at the Gorong-Gorong Terminal.

During the incident, another person was also killed, namely  Jamil, a member of Brimob.

Three hundred Freeport workers ordered home

Bintang  Papua, 14 October 2011Freeport orders 300 workers to ‘go home’

Timika: Reports that workers at Freeport have intimidated and threatened  other workers for refusing to take part in demonstrations and not wanting to go on strike have led to around three hundred Freeport workers being order to go home [dirumahkan’], according to the management of Freeport-Indonesia. Sixty of the three hundred  are staff-level employees joined the strike that commenced on 15 September.

The president-director and CEO of Freeport, Armando Mahler in Timika said on Thursday that the decision to order them home  was taken because they  were involved in intimidating workers who remained at work  and did not join the strike. ‘At the time, many of of the workers felt afraid and threatened. They fled from their barracks and went into hiding. The families of some of the workers who continued to work were also warned that their homes would be burnt down,’  said Armando.

He went on to say that after the strike is over and operations at the Freeport return to normal, the management intends to conduct an investigation to determine what mistakes each of the workers who were ordered home  had made.

Additionally, the director-executive, vice-president  and chief office administrator of the Freeport, Sinta Sirait, said that the decision to order home hundreds of workers meant that the third summons [see below] issued to non-staff employees who had joined the strike was in accordance with the Joint Working Agreement which had been agreed with the workers trade union, the SPSI.

Sinta called on all sides to respect the terms of the agreement that had been reached and not treat it as nothing more than a lip service. ‘We urge the workers not to think that being ordered home and then returning to work is only about establishing good industrial relations with the company.’

Another  manager of the company, John Rumainum said that in a spirit of goodwill, the company had called on the workers to return to work. The first summons was issued on 26 September,  followed by the second summons issued on 29 September and the third summons issued on 4 October.

He went on to say: ‘Those workers who returned to work before the third summons will be exempt from any sanctions But those who returned to work after the third summons, would be treated in accordance with the regulations…

He then said that all the sanctions issued by the company  would be reviewed, once the workers had returned to work.

[Translated and slightly abridged by TAPOL]

[COMMENT: This report reveals the attitude of the company towards hundreds of its employees who were clearly seeking to improve their working conditions during a strike that has been marked by  persistent threats from the company that runs one of the foremost and most profitable mines in the world. TAPOL]