Saturday, March 3, 2012


     Jakarta, March 3, 2012 (ANTARA) - The end of a three-month workers`strike at PT Freeport Indonesia in December 2011 apparently does not mean that the company`s operations would resume normally or
     In October 2011, a number of employees of the US gold and copper mining company operating in Tembagapura, Mimika, Papua Province, began a strike to demand a salary hike.

     After a prolonged and painstaking negotiation process, the company`s management and labor union finally reached agreement in December 2011, which led to the end of the strike.
     But, the problem has not stopped there. Reportedly, several workers were only recently again on strike for two days demanding unpaid salaries for the period during their three-month strikes.
     And worse, the protracted strike last year has created a psychological rift between striking workers and those workers who opted not to join the lockout. Reportedly, former strikers intimidated and even manhandled the non-strikers.
      Following incidents between workers who participated in last year`s strike and workers who had not joined the lockout, PT Freeport has, since last Friday, Feb 24, temporarily stopped its operations.
     "The acts of intimidation by former strikers did not happen all over PT Freeport`s concession area, but only at a number of locations. But the management decided to temporarily cease all production activity," Dionisius Mameyau, head of Mimika`s social, manpower and transmigration office, said in a recent statement to ANTARA.
     PT Freeport currently has 11,000 employees and 12,000 contract workers. Some 30 percent of them come from Papua`s indigenous population.
     PT Freeport Indonesia spokesman Ramdani Sirait in Timika, Mimika District, recently acknowledged that a disruption had occurred in the company`s operations.
      "Some of the former strikers committed acts of intimidation and violence against non-strikers and their supervisors," Ramdani said.

He added that PT Freeport had met all conditions set forth in the Collective Labor Agreement signed with workers` representatives in Jakarta not long ago.

PT Freeport Indonesia, however, will continue to pay employee salaries, despite having indefinitely closed some mining operations.

"PT Freeport has stopped its operations as of late February 2012, but the employees will still be paid," said Ramdani.

Further, the management, in cooperation with the labor union and the local district administration, has been seeking solutions to enable all workers to return to work.

According to other sources in Timika, a meeting recently took place between PT Freeport workers who participated and those who did not join the strike to discuss their problem at Tembagaoura`s Community Hall.

At the same time, leaders of PT Freeport trade union also held a

meeting with Papua Police Chief Insp Gen Bigman Lumban Tobing at the Rimba Hotel in Timika.

Earlier this week, the temporary cessation of its mining operations was reported by PT Freeport management to Mimika District Chief Klemen Tinal, who is expected to issue directives to local authorities on how to proceed.

To find a solution to the problem, Muslihuddin, a member of the Mimika district legislative council, urged the regional government to intervene by mediating between PT Freeport`s management and the workers represented by their trade union.

Another Mimika district councilor, Fabianus Jemadu, asked the police to arrest and bring to justice those who had committed acts of terror, violence and intimidation against PT Freeport workers or employees, so that the situation in the company`s concession area could return to normal.

"Because what has happened actually amounts to criminality, we ask the police to take firm action against the perpetrators," he said.

Fabainus also supported the call requesting the regional government to assist in holding a meeting between PT Freeport management and its workers` trade union to restore normalcy in the company`s operations.

In addition to the labor strike, PT Freeport Indonesia has been facing security problems involving shootings by unknown perpetrators.

Since July 2009, 15 people have been killed and 54 injured in shootings perpetrated by armed groups near mines operated by the US company in Mimika District.

PT Freeport is extremely concerned about the continuous terror actions by armed groups, which remain at large.

"We are very much concerned about the shootings which continue to occur, and that the perpetrators are still unknown. We fully support the security authorities in handling the security disturbances," Ramdani Sirait said in early February.

The latest shooting incidents happened at Mile 37 Tanggul Timur road, Kali Kopi forest area, Mimika on February 9, injuring workers from CV Yawapu Jaya.

CV Yawapu Jaya, owned by Herman Apoka, Nayaro kampong chief, and belonging to the Kamoro tribe, is a sub-contractor at PT Freeport and handles reclamation work at Tanggul Barat.

"PT Freeport Indonesia is very serious about protecting the safety and security of our employees, and guaranteeing security at our work place is our main priority," Ramdani said.

On Feb 7, 2012 Brigadier I Ronald Sopamena, a Papua police officer, was shot and killed by a member of an armed group at Mile 37 Tanggul Timur, Kali Kopi forest area, Timika.

PT Freeport, on January 27, 2012, announced the appointment of Rozik B Soetjipto as the company`s president director, replacing Armando Mahler.

The appointment of Rozik Soetjipto was meant to strengthen the company`s relationship with its stakeholders.

Amungme tribal leader Andreas Anggaibak suggested that the new chairman embrace Papua`s Amungme and Kamoro tribal community figures living around the company`s mining area in Timika.

He further said that due to the three-month Freeport workers` strike in 2011, Freeport management should establish closer ties to local community figures.

"If necessary, we will form an independent team consisting of neutral people to assist Freeport. The protracted workers` strike in 2011 should be an important lesson for Freeport," Anggaibak added.

"If Freeport wants to be safe, then please pay attention to the indigenous people. Freeport must not close its eyes to the lives of the indigenous people. Security is important, but the people living around the Freeport mines, which are the customary owners of all the natural riches that have been exploited by Freeport, should receive more attention from Freeport," Anggaibak said.

PT Freeport`s Grasberg mining complex is one of the world`s largest single producers of both copper and gold and contains the largest recoverable reserves of copper and the largest single gold reserves in the world.

During 2011, the company paid 2.4 billion US dollars, or Rp21 trillion, in tax and non-tax payments to the state.

Also, from 1992 until December 2011 the company contributed 13.8 billion US dollars, based upon the Working Contract 1991. That amount included royalties worth 1.3 billion US dollars, dividends of 1.3 billion US dollars, and the remaining amount was for taxes.

PT Freeport Indonesia has also spent about 7.2 billion US dollars on building public infrastructure, such as schools, roads, and places of worships in Papua. ***2***
(T.F001/A/KR-BSR/A/H-YH) 03-03-2012 19:28:23

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