The strike at Freeport-McMoRan’s Grasberg mine in Papua, which began on September 15, will continue after government mediated talks broke down and workers are planning a rally for September 29th. Grasberg is the world’s largest copper mine and, according to the company, “will lose 3 million pounds (1,361 metric tons) of copper and 5,000 ounces of gold a day” due to the strike.
Perhaps those loses are on the minds of management, as they have increased their pressure on workers. The International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM) has reported on management’s most recent tactics:
Since the wage, pension, and community funds strike started, managers have coerced workers to return to work with threats of dismissal, they have pressed contractors’ employees into production, and now they try to decimate the union by sacking union stewards and isolating the branch union’s other leaders.
PT Freeport management has attempted to coerce workers to sign a statement saying they will return to work or face getting fired. But despite this, only 500 workers are manning operations and many are staff of contractors.
From the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM):
A branch of ICEM Indonesian affiliate FSP-KEP (SPSI), the Trade Union of Chemical, Energy, and Mine Workers, will renew strike action this week, 15 September, with a month-long walkout at a leading global copper and gold mining complex, the Grasberg operation of US-based Freeport-McMoRan in eastern Papua province on New Guinea Island.
The strike by 10,000 Indonesia miners would follow an eight-day strike in July that saw six union leaders sacked, only to be returned to their jobs when mine management relented and agree to re-start pay talks.
Those talks did resume in Timila on 20 July but after a number of sessions, no agreement was reached on pay for 2011 to 2013 and negotiations broke off on 5 September. The FSP-KEP branch is seeking a doubling of miners’ US$1.50-per-hour wage rate, while PT Freeport is offering only an 11% increase, mostly in the form of bonuses.
… The FSP-KEP branch is reportedly asking now to negotiate directly with Freeport-McMoRan’s chairman and non-elective board member James Moffett, who took in a total compensation package last year of US$21.5 million.
Credit: Julian Abram Wainwright photography
From the International Labor Rights Forum:
In detention centers all over Vietnam, some 40,000 men, women, and children are being held against their will and forced to labor for the Vietnamese government. The victims are held without a hearing or a trial in a court of law in drug detention centers on suspicion of using illegal drugs. Most detainees are picked up in “street sweeps” or on the basis of a single positive urine test. Even those who enter the centers voluntarily in the hopes of getting help for addictions are not allowed to leave. Many are held for up to five years of forced labor, often to produce goods for private companies. ILRF is calling on the U.S. Trade Representative to denounce compulsory drug detention, and to demand that Vietnam permanently close the forced labor centers before rewarding Vietnam with the benefits of joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership [Free Trade] Agreement.