Indonesia: IndustriALL says mass firings in mines owned by Freeport McMoRan & Mitsubishi have led to workers' families losing access to food, housing, healthcare

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Freeport McMoRan and Mitsubishi to respond to IndustriALL’s statements from its mission concerning the mass firings in PT Freeport and PT Smelting operations in Indonesia. The companies’ responses are provided below.

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Company response
7 September 2017

Freeport McMoRan's response to IndustriALL's rejoinder

Author: Freeport McMoRan

Freeport-McMoRan has no additional response and refers stakeholders to the facts presented in our August 28 statement.

NGO rejoinder
31 August 2017

IndustriALL rejoinder to Freeport McMoRan's response re mass firing at Indonesian mines

Author: IndustriALL

IndustriALL Global Union again urges Freeport to negotiate with CEMWU SPSI rather than continue down its current path of conflict, which is devastating the families and communities of the over 4 thousand workers fired for striking at its Grasberg mine in West Papua, Indonesia.

The fundamental source of the conflict is Freeport’s refusal to negotiate. In Freeport-McMoran's August 28 statement, the company makes the incredible claim that “there were no legitimate labor matters over which to negotiate" in the furlough that Freeport unilaterally imposed on its Indonesian employees, provoking the strike. The company however admitted in an August 10 meeting with IndustriALL that the furlough reduced workers’ compensation by about 30% and weakened their job security. Those are legitimate labor matters...

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Article
29 August 2017

IndustriALL mission to Indonesia finds human rights crisis for sacked workers

Author: IndustriALL

11 Aug 2017

The IndustriALL Global Union mission to Indonesia in solidarity with workers fired for striking at PT Freeport and PT Smelting, has revealed a human rights crisis, with workers losing access to food, housing, education and basic healthcare.

More than 4,200 workers at U.S.-based Freeport-McMoRan’s PT Freeport, which operates the massive gold and copper Grasberg mine in West Papua, have been sacked for striking, while some 300 workers at PT Smelting in Gresik were fired after striking in January…

“The mission has been informed that after firing the workers, the company has forcibly ejected the workers from company housing, denied them access to company hospitals and company schools, and has worked with local banks to restrict workers’ access to credit. We received the disturbing report that several workers and their family members who were denied medical care have died as a result. Many of the workers who lost their housing are now living in tents or the union’s offices,” said the IndustriALL mission in a statement on 11 August…

“These actions are clear violations of the workers' rights to organize, bargain collectively, and strike, established in ILO Conventions,” continued the statement…

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Article
29 August 2017

Statement of IndustriALL solidarity Mission to Indonesia concerning mass firings of strikers by PT Freeport and PT Smelting

Author: IndustriALL

High level leaders from unions in Australia (AWU and CFMEU), the Netherlands (FNV), North America (USW) and South Africa (NUM) have completed an 8-11 August, 2017 Mission to Indonesia concerning mass firings of striking workers by PT Freeport and PT Smelting. The Mission was organized by IndustriALL Global Union, representing 50 million members in 140 countries - including 11 affiliated unions in Indonesia - to express solidarity with the affected workers, investigate the mass firings, and offer assistance to the involved parties to seek fair resolutions of the disputes…

The Mission agrees with the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights that PT Freeport’s actions constitute grave human rights violations. People fired for exercising their fundamental rights as workers are now losing their basic human rights, including access – for themselves, their spouses and their children – to food, housing, education and basic healthcare…

The Mission concludes that the fundamental source of both disputes, and of the resulting human suffering and rights violations, is the decision by PT Freeport and PT Smelting to engage in conflict with the unions that represent their workers, rather than negotiate with them. We urge both companies to instead choose the path of negotiation, which ultimately will serve the interests of all their stakeholders...

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Company response
28 August 2017

Freeport McMoRan response

Author: Freeport McMoRan

…The level of business uncertainty for PTFI increased significantly in 2017 with the implementation of new regulations under the mining law, which affected the company’s ability to export its products. As a result, the company was obliged to take necessary steps to adapt to a fundamentally different business environment by reducing open-pit production, slowing underground development, and consequently, reducing milling rates. In February, PTFI began implementation of a cost-efficiency program and new organizational structure to match the reduced production levels with a goal of ensuring the economic viability of the company…

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Company response
25 August 2017

Mitsubishi response

Author: Mitsubishi

...We understand that following the mediation process by the relevant authorities for the resolution of labor disputes, the dispute between PTS and its former workers who were members of the PUK is now being heard by the Industrial Relations Court in Gresik, Indonesia in accordance with prevailing laws and regulations in Indonesia.

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