Tag Archives: strike

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.

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]

Kontras condemns police shooting of Freeport workers

Kontras, the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence has condemned the shooting of Freeport workers who were seeking negotiations with the management of the company. Since the commencement of the strike on 15 September there has been no sign that the management is seeking to provide the space for dialogue which could accommodate the interests of the two sides.

During an action on 10 October, the workers protested against the company for recruiting new workers to replace those now on strike. We have received information that some eight thousand workers  were involved in this action. They marched from the secretariat of the SBSI, the trade union, to the culverts, a distance of about 500 metres along a road that was six metres wide. A short distance away, hundreds of policemen were standing on guard.

The police tried to disperse the workers action as they were seeking to meet the management of the company.. Having failed to meet the management, the workers burned some vehicles believed to belong to the company. The police then opened fire on the workers: Petrus Ayamiseba  who works in catering at the company  was shot in the waist and died. Six others were wounded, Leo Wandagau, Alius Komba, Melkius Rumbiak, Yunus Nguliduan, Philiton Kogoya and Ahmad. Some of the policemen were also injured.

We regard the shooting and violence as an act of intervention and intimidation against industrial relations as guaranteed in Law13/2003 on Labour Affairs. The government, in this case the Department of Labour and Transmigration, should be playing a role to guarantee the basic rights of the workers as stipulated in that law, in particular with regard to legal procedures in article 137.

Furthermore, it is clearly stated that no one shall interfere with strike actions undertaken by the workers. (article 143) and workers on strike may not be replaced by other workers in any form whatsoever (article 144).

The presence and acts of violence by hundreds of police have damaged the efforts of the workers  to seek negotiations with the namagement. The police have clearly sided with Freeport  by undertaking  patrols and protection of the company and have been receiving monthly contributions (see letter from head of operations no b/918/IV/2011). The function of the police should  be to protect the people,

The shooting and acts of violence have also violated a number of regulations. Internally, the police should implement the regulations of the police  Furthermore the police have also violated a number of other laws such as the Human Rights Law of 1999 and Law 12/2005 on Ratification of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Kontras therefore calls on the police:

1. To conduct a thorough investigation into the shooting and acts of violence that occurred on 10 October,

2. To pursue legal procedures  that are impartial, credible, accountable and transparent with regard  to the shooting and acts of violence.

3. Should take steps to ensure that the police maintain their independence in all industrial relations disputes so as to ensure that they do not trigger acts of violence and other breaches of the law.

Jakarta, 10 October 2011

[Translated by TAPOL]

Indonesian security forces open fire on West Papuan striking miners – kill one

from our partners at Pacific Media Centre

http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2011/10/indonesian-security-forces-open-fire-on-west-papuan-striking-miners-%E2%80%93-kill-one/

October 11, 2011
Papua mineIndonesian security forces face striking miners at Grasberg copper mine in West Papua. Photo: AP

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Karen Abplanalp and PMC news desk

Indonesian security forces have shot and killed at least one protester and  wounded eight others when they opened fire on striking workers at Freeport-McMoRan’s gold and copper mine in West Papua, union officials said.

Union leader Manuel Maniambo said thousands of striking workers were trying to prevent replacement workers from heading by bus to the mine.

Blocked by security forces, some protesters began throwing rocks.  Three food delivery trucks were burnt, according to an Agence France-Presse reporter at the scene.

The security forces began firing shots and at least one man was killed, one more unconfirmed dead, one man critically injured and at least 8 men wounded.

The dead man has been identified as 30-year-old Petrus Ayemsekaba.

Indonesian security forces said six of their men were also hurt during the demonstration.

Around 9000 workers from the Grasberg mine in West Papua began the strike on September 15, demanding that their current minimum wage of less than NZ$2.50 an hour be raised to globally competitive levels.

Lowest wages
Union representatives say that Freeport’s workers, who are mostly indigenous West Papuans, receive the lowest wages of any Freeport mining facility in the world.

Concerns for the miners safety has been mounting recently as reports of intimidation of union officials were reported.

Union spokesperson Juli Parrongan said: “Our personal safety going on strike is under pressure of the PT Freeport Indonesia management.”

Union officials have been complaining that PTFreeport, (the Indonesian unit of US-owned mining firm Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold Inc.) management has been breaking Indonesian laws regarding fair strike actions since the strike began.

The union has said the striking miners have been intimidated into going back to work and to signing contracts.

Workers in Indonesia have been granted the right to strike, and under Indonesian law, they are able to do this free from intimidation.

Reinforcements sent
In preparation for the strike, military and police reinforcements were sent to Timika, the closest town to the mine.

The Papua Police dispatched an extra 114 police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) personnel to Timika with an additional 100 Brimob personnel from Jakarta to join 850 personnel from the Indonesian military (TNI)-police joint task force.

AFP quoted police spokesman Wachyono as saying:  “So far, five policemen suffered head injuries and another had his leg  injured from being pelted with stones by workers. They have been taken  to hospital.”

Police fired warning shots into the air after the striking workers  pelted them with stones, Wachyono said, in scenes witnessed by an AFP  reporter at the site.

The Indonesian military and the Indonesian police are now under the international spotlight in the hope that its track record of human rights abuses in West Papua are not repeated during the current miners strike.

As chair of ASEAN Indonesia, with its goal to make ASEAN a people-centered community, it has a good incentive to be seen as a democratic country, free of human rights abuses.

Karen Abplanalp is an Auckland photographer and also an AUT University postgraduate student on the Asia-Pacific Journalism course.