Workers at PT Smelting in Gresik, Indonesia faced off hundreds of police officers during the strike on 9 March 2017. Photo: FSPMI

Grasberg workers and their supporters demonstrate in West Papua in May.

IndustriALL to lead mission to Freeport operations in Indonesia

03.08.2017

IndustriALL Global Union will lead a mission to Indonesia from 8-11 August, to support workers fired for striking at Grasberg mine and PT Smelting. Both operations are part-owned by US mining giant Freeport-McMoRan.

The mission will include leaders from some of the world’s most powerful unions.

A press conference is scheduled for 10:00 am on 11 August at the Sari Pan Pacific hotel in Jakarta. Union leaders from Grasberg will attend and report on developments.

The aim of the mission is to:

  • Show solidarity with the striking workers at PT Freeport Indonesia / Grasberg mine and at PT Smelting. Grasberg strikers are represented by IndustriALL affiliate the Chemical, Energy and Mines Workers Union (CEMWU SPSI PTFI), and PT Smelting strikers are represented by IndustriALL affiliate FSPMI.
  • To meet with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and the Ministry of Manpower to help facilitate a resolution at PT Freeport Indonesia and PT Smelting, and to highlight the grave violations of international labour standards and workers’ rights. 
  • To meet with company officials at PT Freeport Indonesia and PT Smelting.
  • To stop the one-sided stream of information from Freeport and put forward the workers’ side of the story.

The IndustriALL solidarity mission will include leaders from some of the world’s most powerful unions. The participants are:

  • IndustriALL Global Union Mining Sector Chairman and CFMEU Mining & Energy (Australia) General Secretary Andrew Vickers
  •  AWU (Australia) National Secretary Daniel Walton
  • NUM (South Africa) President Piet Matosa USW (North America) International Affairs Director Ben Davis
  • FNV (Netherlands) Process Industries Director Nanny Nuijten
  • IndustriALL Global Union Campaigns Director Adam Lee
  • IndustriALL South East Asia Office Officer Vonny Diananto

In reaction to Freeport-McMoRan CEO, Richard Adkerson’s, recent comments that there is no strike at Grasberg, IndustriALL assistant general secretary, Kemal Özkan, says:

“We’re going to Indonesia to stand behind and stand up for the workers who have been terminated for exercising their right to strike. It’s simply not true that there is no strike. There is an officially declared, legitimate strike, which is now entering its fourth month.

“The situation at Grasberg is serious, while the company is doing everything it can to play it down. Freeport is using the strike as an excuse to fire more than 4,000 workers and to undermine the union.”

There is a remarkably similar situation at PT Smelting in East Java, where workers have also been sacked for striking. PT Smelting depends on Grasberg for copper concentrate and is jointly owned and operated by Freeport-McMoRan’s PT Freeport Indonesia and Mitsubishi Materials.

“We will demand that the government uphold fundamental labour standards. Workers’ rights are being trampled on. Freeport and PT Smelting cannot declare that workers have voluntarily resigned when in fact they’ve been sacked for exercising their legitimate right to strike,” says Özkan.