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October 28, 2014

Freeport Indonesia mine workers to strike for one month

Freeport-McMoRan's Indonesian gold and copper mine workers will go on strike from next week for a period of one month due to concerns about worker safety.

Freeport-McMoRan’s Indonesian gold and copper mine workers will go on strike from next week for a period of one month due to concerns about worker safety.

Citing a union official, Reuters reported that the industrial action will be held from 6 November to 6 December, as Freeport-McMoRan failed to make changes to local management following a fatal accident.

Four workers were killed at the Grasberg complex in Indonesia last September, in a collision involving a truck. After the incident, hundreds of protesters staged a protest in the open pit area blocking access to the mine, which temporarily stopped operations.

"The protesters will demand the removal of 54 management-level staff and the appointment of new managers." 

The protest prompted Indonesia’s mine ministry to ask Freeport-McMoRan to make changes to safety procedures and policies before recommencing open pit mining.

Union official Albar Sabang told AFP that workers from two other Freeport subsidiaries involved in logistics and power supply will also join the strike.

Albar Sabang was quoted by Reuters saying: "The purpose of the strike is, of course, to stop production so there will be pressure for the Freeport Indonesia management to answer to our demands."

The protesters will demand the removal of 54 management-level staff and the appointment of new managers.

Freeport’s Indonesia unit, PT-FI said in a statement: "This action is unlawful and inconsistent with the terms of the CLA.

"PT-FI will continue to engage in discussions with union leadership and to encourage its workers to follow the terms of its CLA to avoid losses to PT-FI, its workers, the local community and all stakeholders."

Grasberg mine is one of the largest in the world and has witnessed many accidents and production problems, including when 28 people were killed in May last year by a tunnel collapse.

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