News / Asia

Freeport Strike Settlement Could Set Precedent

An activist shouts a slogan during a solidarity rally for workers of U.S. mining giant Freeport-McMoran outside the company's Indonesian headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 11, 2011 (file photo).
An activist shouts a slogan during a solidarity rally for workers of U.S. mining giant Freeport-McMoran outside the company's Indonesian headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 11, 2011 (file photo).
Brian Padden

Workers at the Freeport mine in Indonesia settled a three-month strike Wednesday that disrupted output at the world's second-largest copper mine. The Papuan workers, who were the lowest paid workers of any Freeport operation in the world, will get a significant pay raise, but less then they initially demanded.

Union workers at the Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold company accepted a 37 percent pay raise, over two years, to end Indonesia's longest-running industrial dispute. The deal is to be officially approved on Saturday.  Under the final settlement the wages will increase to around $7.50 an hour.

Professor Kurtubi, an economist at the University of Indonesia who specializes in mineral resource economics, says the agreement is good for the workers, good for the company and good for the government.

"This is a good, good solution, a win, win solution. Instead of maintaining the dispute for never ending, it is good to reach an agreement," said Kurtubi.

He says the workers will get more pay. Freeport will still make a healthy profit.  And, with the labor issue resolved he says the government will now focus on renegotiating the percentage that Freeport pays in taxes and royalties, from one percent to three percent or more.

The settlement was expected be approved on Tuesday, but was delayed by last-minute negotiations to ensure workers would not be penalized for participating in the strike.

During the strike, the company said it was losing two million pounds of copper and 3,000 ounces of gold in daily production.  Despite the mine's reduced output during the labor unrest, copper prices fell on worries about weak global demand. There is concern that resuming full mining operations could further bring down prices.

During the strike, operations were further disrupted by attacks on pipelines and blockades by workers that cut off some food and fuel supplies. Workers will have to repair the damages before resuming full production.

The strike has been the highest profile work stoppage in Indonesia in recent years. Professor Kurtubi says other mining companies will likely have to match Freeport wages to prevent their workers from going on strike.

"The level of the salaries that they pay to the workers should not [be] so much different than the pay that workers receive in Freeport," said Kurtubi.

Freeport Indonesia employs 23,000 people its mining operations. Many are Christian and reportedly pushed for a settlement before Christmas, so that they could afford to celebrate the holiday.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid