PT Freeport Indonesia reportedly laid off striking miners at its Grasberg operation. On May 1, more than 10,000 miners who are represented by the Chemical, Energy and Mines Workers Union (CEMWU) embarked on 30 days of strike action in protest at the company’s furlough policy. Contractors joined the strike on May 9. The company declared the strike illegal, and announced that striking workers would be considered absent without leave. Any worker absent for five days would lose their job. So far, 178 workers have been terminated.
One of the complaints voiced by striking miners, according to the CEMWU, was Freeport’s furlough policy, which places workers on long-term leave at short notice. Although the furlough is paid, workers lose out on many benefits, including overtime and accommodations.
The union has urged both the government and the company to resolve their conflict. It encouraged the government to provide a clear, legal framework so that the company can invest for the long term.