Monday, May 1, 2017

1) Freeport Workers Go on Strike for a Month Starting from May Day

2) Freeport Indonesia mine workers hold rally at start of planned strike
3) Indonesian’s government has been urged to ensure that state security forces who attack journalists in regions like Papua are held to account.
MONDAY, 01 MAY, 2017 | 17:02 WIB
1) Freeport Workers Go on Strike for a Month Starting from May Day

TEMPO.COTimika - Thousands of Freeport Indonesia’s workers in Mimika, Papua, are going on a strike that will last for a month from May 1 to 30, 2017, following a deadlocked negotiation with the company’s management.
Yafet Panggala, head of the organization unit at the Chemical, Energy and Mining Workers Union (SP-KEP) of Freeport Indonesia, said on Monday in Timika that the strike commencement coincided with the International Workers Day, which is also known as May Day.
“We waited until 12 a.m. last night for the company’s good faith to listen to our demands. But it didn’t happen and there’s no deal. Therefore, our letter notifying about the strike, which was sent to the company and government earlier, is valid,” Yafet said.
According to Yafet, employees of contractors and Freeport’s privatization companies will participate under 14 Work Units in the strike on May 9, 2017 as stated in a strike letter sent to the Mimika Manpower, Transmigration and Public Housings Agency.
Yafet asserted that Freeport’s Workers Union will continue to be in communications with the company’s management. Yafet guaranteed that the strike will cease if there is a deal with the management.
“The strike is not our goal, but it’s a mean of our struggle. So, there should not be an allegation saying that we want to go on strike all the time. It’s not like that,” Yafet explained.
Yafet revealed that the union and Freeport have not reached an agreement related to the disciplinary actions against workers who violate the Cooperation Agreement and the Industrial Relationship Guidelines (PKB-PHI) 2015-2017.

2) Freeport Indonesia mine workers hold rally at start of planned strike
Mon May 1, 2017 | 3:09pm EDT
Indonesian soldiers watch as workers and contractors from PT Freeport travel in a convoy during a rally commemorating May Day in Timika, Papua province, Indonesia May 1, 2017 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Wahyu Putro A/via REUTERS

Thousands of workers from the Indonesian unit of Freeport McMoRan Inc staged a rally near its Papua mine on Monday, a union leader said, protesting against layoffs by the miner due to a contract dispute with the government. 
The union representing a third of the 32,000 workforce sent a notice to Freeport on Monday threatening to strike from May 1 to the end of the month at the Grasberg mine, the world's second-biggest copper mine.
Freeport is trying to ramp up output and exports at Grasberg after reaching a temporary deal with the government following a 15-week stoppage linked to new mining rules, but customers are concerned that labor unrest could now hit supply.

Freeport had laid off about 10 percent of its workforce and warned it could cut another 5,000 to stem losses, sparking protests from workers.
"We are still waiting. We have good intention by opening up in a transparent and fair manner so the problem can be solved. We actually don't want a strike to happen," said union leader Aser Gobai, adding that about 8,000 workers had participated in the rally in Timika, the nearest town to the mine.
Freeport said in an emailed statement that its Indonesia unit "continues to work with union leaders, with the support of government officials, to encourage a safe and efficient return to normal operations for the benefit of all stakeholders."
Freeport Chief Executive Richard Adkerson said last month the company could punish workers for absenteeism.
Any delays in resuming exports could support copper prices. London Metal Exchange prices were last at $5,735 a tonne, up 4 percent this year.
Adding to tensions around Grasberg, several Freeport workers and police were injured in a clash in Papua last month, when officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators in Timika who authorities said had been attempting to free a union leader at a court hearing. 
New rules in Indonesia require Freeport to obtain a new mining permit, divest a 51 percent stake, build a second copper smelter, relinquish arbitration rights and pay new taxes and royalties. 
Freeport insists any new permit must have the same fiscal and legal guarantees as under its 30-year mining contract, and in February it served notice to Jakarta, saying it has the right to commence arbitration if no agreement is reached by June 17.
 (Reporting by Samuel Wanda in Timika,; Additional reporting by Nulifar Rizki, Wilda Asmarini and Fergus Jensen in Jakarta and Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Matthew Lewis)

3) Indonesian’s government has been urged to ensure that state security forces who attack journalists in regions like Papua are held to account.
7:53 pm on 1 May 2017 
The call from the NGO Human Rights Watch comes as Indonesia prepares to host a series of events for World Press Freedom Day on Wednesday.
It points to new research data from Indonesia's Alliance for Independent Journalists showing an increase in assaults on journalists in the past two years in Indonesia.
At least a dozen cases in this time refer to journalists being attacked, intimidated or detained in Papua region, otherwise known as West Papua
The Alliance says foreign journalists and local fixers are liable to be arrested and prosecuted if they try to document the Indonesian military's abuses there.
However, since the election of President Joko Widodo in 2014, Indonesia's government has been making steps towards opening up Papua region to foreign journalists.
After Mr Widodo "lifted" the effective ban on foreign journalists visiting Papua, several foreign journalists went to Papua in 2015, including two from RNZ International.
But, numerous restrictions remain on foreign media access to Papua.

The international media watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, this month called on Mr Widodo to keep his promise to allow foreign journalists to operate in Papua without obstruction or surveillance.
The organisation said Jakarta's repeated refusals to issue press visas and the growing number of journalists on its blacklist, showed it fell far short of qualifying as a country that supports freedom of expression and media freedom.
But as Jakarta hosts World Press Freedom Day on Wednesday, abuses against local journalists remain the most pressing media issue in Papua.
Numerous journalists working with the independent Papua-based newspaper Tabloid Jubi have been subject to threats and attacks by security forces in recent years.
Indonesian law also requires journalists who are targets of physical assault to report such incidents to the National Police Profession and Security Division if the perpetrator is a police officer, or to the Military Police if the perpetrator is a soldier.
However, the government human rights commission, Komnas-HAM, has found that police investigations of incidents of violence against journalists often stall “because of technicalities or as a result of social or political pressure."

After interviewing numerous journalists and human rights advocates across Indonesia, Human Rights Watch said they described "an atmosphere of fear and self-censorship in many newsrooms".
It said this was "due to abuses and threats by security forces and local authorities that go unpunished and that, most of the time, are not even rigorously investigated".
According to the NGO, Jakarta must show it is serious about press freedom by ensuring accountability for these abuses.
This echoed a call by Irina Bokova, the director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, which chose Jakarta as global host for its annual World Press Freedom Day commemoration.
She said Jakarta should use the occasion to publicly address the increase in assaults on journalists and urge President Widodo to take more decisive action in response.
Meanwhile, difficulties around press freedom in West Papua are the subject of a discussion event in Jakarta tomorrow, ahead of World Press Freedom Day.
This event will feature discourse by Tabloid Jubi's founder, Victor Mambor, the head of Indonesia Amnesty International, Usman Hamid, and David Robie, lecturer at Auckland University of Technology and founder of Pacific Media Watch.

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