Freeport Workers Return

Reuters reports on Freeport workers’ return to work on Tuesday:

Some 200 workers who were bussed back last week to the Grasberg mine in the highlands of Papua island have begun work, according to a mine worker who spoke to Reuters by telephone from Grasberg but declined to give his name.

Freeport transported another 300 workers to the mine on Tuesday and others would follow in the days ahead, said union spokesman Virgo Solossa.

“They are effectively back to work on January 2 after attending a three-day work preparation session,” said Solossa, who was in the town of Timika, around 100 km (60 miles) south of the mine in eastern Indonesia.

The strike ended on Dec. 14 with a deal under which Freeport agreed to a pay increase of roughly 40 percent for around 8,000 union members and to a framework for a better deal for roughly 15,000 other non-union workers and contractors.

But a resumption of work was delayed because of a dispute with contractor PT Kuala Pelabuhan Indonesia (KPI) over possible sanctions on workers who took part in the strike. Last week KPI agreed to rehire about 700 workers who went on strike with no sanctions, the union said.

Solossa said he was confident a similar dispute with other sub-contractors that emerged this week had been resolved but the union was waiting for assurances.

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