IndustriALL Global Union has issued a briefing to investors, warning them of the potential financial implications of human rights violations at the Grasberg mine.
Freeport is in protracted negotiations with the government of Indonesia over control of the Grasberg mine. The government wants a 51 per cent stake in the mine, and suspended Freeport’s export licence to force the company to divest shares.
Freeport responded by laying off workers, triggering a strike. Workers have been on strike since 1 May, and 4,200 have been fired by the company.
Workers most recently took action on World Day for Decent Work, 7 October, highlighting the ongoing problem of precarious work at Grasberg, and demanding that the fired workers be reinstated.
The investor briefing draws attention to the situation, highlighting clashes that have taken place, and fact that the workers who have been fired have no income, and have been denied access to credit, accommodation, education or medical care for four months. Several people are believed to have died as a result.
The briefing highlights the risk that the situation poses for investors, and calls on shareholders to:
- Enter into dialogue with Freeport-McMoRan and engage it on the alleged human rights abuses at its Grasberg mine;
- Ask Freeport how it is ensuring that the rights of workers at PTFI are respected and the company’s social license to operate is not compromised;
- Ask the company why it is not reinstating the workers that its subsidiary, PTFI, fired for exercising their right to strike;
- Ask the company how it is ensuring that its mass firing and the attendant loss of income and basic services for thousands of families doesn’t generate a humanitarian crisis.
The government of Indonesia is reportedly close to agreement with Freeport over divesting shares. It is unclear which party will have operational control over the mine, and what the implications of the settlement will be for the workforce.
IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan said:
“Freeport investors need to be aware of the volatile situation created at Grasberg, and to demand that the company resolve the situation.
“Freeport’s reckless disregard for workers’ rights has caused a human rights crisis at Grasberg. IndustriALL will continue to fight until all those fired have been reinstated.”