Fears that Indonesian police plan to use violence to break the strike by 10,000 workers at Freeport's Grasberg mine in Papua have been outlined in a press release by Australian advocacy group Indonesian Solidarity.
MEDIA RELEASE FROM INDONESIAN SOLIDARITY
Indonesian police plan to break Freeport Workers Strike
According to Mr Albar Sabang, the Secretary of the All Indonesian Workers Union (SPSI), Freeport Indonesia Division, "four panzers, one backhoe and one bulldozer are on the way to mile 27 of the Freeport area in Mimika". They plan to break the strike by November 1st, when the delegation of ICEM (a member of the CFMEU is part of the ICEM delegation) will meet with the Freeport unionists in Jakarta.
In a letter that was sent to SPSI, the Mimika police commander Deny Edward Siregar states that the SPSI has breached laws such as the Indonesian criminal law, and regulation 13/2003 that regulate the workers' conduct. In his letter the police commander says that "the strike has shifted its orientation, and become demonstrations without asking permission from the police and has blocked access to roads that are vitally important for the national interests".
Further he states that the strikers "have moved from CP north to CP-1, Mile 27 and Gorong-Gorong". And the strikers "have disturbed public order". However, the Freeport Workers have followed all the right procedures in their strike while, PT Freeport Indonesia has disbursed US$14 million of funds to Indonesian National Police and Military (TNI) to protect Freeport.
Gorong-Gorong is the area where Peter Ayameseba, one of the striking workers, was shot dead by the police in protests that occurred on October 10th.
The police rationale to break the strike, in addition to what the Mimika police commander has said, is that the strikers have pressured Freeport Indonesia, and gained a lot of solidarity support both in Indonesia and overseas. Freeport's declaration this week of "force majeure" on some concentrate sales from its strike-hit Grasberg mine in Papua was another piece evidence that the strike has been effective.
Freeport Indonesia workers reportedly receive the lowest salaries among all Freeport McMoRan (FM) workers around the world, with wages ranging from US$1.50-$3.00 per hour.
Meanwhile SPSI continues negotiating with Freeport Indonesia and demands to have US$7.5 to $33 per hour for workers level 1-3.
On 19th October 2011, the Indonesian military and police attacked the peaceful Papuan People's Congress and six people were killed, more than 300 were taken into custody, the leaders accused of treason, and many others were beaten with rattan canes and batons by police and soldiers.
Freeport workers can be contacted via Yuly Parorongan as a spokesperson of the Freeport union at +6285254951253 and Frans Okoseray at +6281240492446