Freeport Update

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.

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