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Freeport: This is not the end, only the beginning

An agreement was signed in Jakarta on 14 December 2011 between the Freeport workers union PUK-SP-KEP-SPSI and management of PT Freeport Indonesia.

Striking miners at Grasberg will be paid their lost salaries during the three-month strike. In a last minute company concession, disciplinary action against a number of strikers has been withdrawn and complete amnesty accorded. 

The miners will receive a 24% increase on their back-dated wages to 1 October 2011. In October 2012, they will receive a 13% increase. The 37% falls short of the union’s most recent demand to increase wages to US$4.50 per hour this year and then by US$3 per hour in 2012. The resolve of workers and union leaders was a lesson of worker solidarity and unity to trade unions across the globe, and many paid special attention to the developments of this strike. 

“We are not entirely happy with the wage deal,” said union bargaining committee member Juli Parorrongan. “We made the decision to settle due to humanitarian reasons and out of concern for our workers. They have no money, very little to eat, and having no pay checks have pushed them to the brink of poverty. But this is not the end, only the beginning. The energy and unity of our struggle now enters the workplace."

Nine people were killed since the strike started on 15 September, with a number of workers shot by police during protests. During the strike PUK-SP-KEP-SPSI, together with KASBI and AAWL issued a joint statement. Read the full statement in Bahasa Indonesia here or in English here. List of endorsements here.

Financial support is still needed: donate to the workers here. More information on the dispute here. Read the full ICEM report here.

General strike

The popular uprising in Syria continues to spread amid ongoing repression that has left thousands dead. Mass demonstration and strikes have occurred throughout this year.

A renewed call for rolling general strikes to target different sectors of the economy had been called to start on Saturday the 11th of December. These strikes aim to close down most parts of the economy with the ultimate aim of a complete block of all major transport routes in Syria.

The Local Coordination Committee in Syria website says:

"We will work together step by step. The beginning of the strike will be on Sunday, 11/12/2011 with a general strike from 8 AM until 2 PM preventing students from attending schools, followed by the successive stages of the strike." (Read the full statement here.)

More on Syria uprising:  Workers need to take control   سوريا: يجب على العمال أن يتسلموا السلطة بأنفسهم

Free the Faisalabad activists

As reported previously, the campaign to free the six labour activists from Faisalabad, who were jailed under the Pakistan Terrorist Act has generated a lot of solidarity within Pakistan. These actions are continuing with an international solidarity campaign started calling for their immediate release.

Abolish lèse majesté

AAWL has received a message from Junya Lek Yimprasert of Action for People’s Democracy in Thailand which says:

This is a call for solidarity for the people of Thailand. PLEASE HELP us abolish Thailand's cruel, archaic laws of lèse majesté and release the unknown hundreds of lèse majesté and other political prisoners. We wish to deliver at least 11,000 signatures to the Thai government, and if possible to ASEAN, on International Human Right Day, 10 December 2011. PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION.

For the full text of the petition and much more information click here.

Solidarity for Fiji unions

On November 24, the IUF-affiliated Hong Kong catering and hotel workers' union CHIEGU and the HKCTU, the national centre of which it is a member, held a protest action in front of the Fiji Consulate to highlight escalating attacks on human rights and growing repression of the trade union movement by the military government of Commodore Bainimarama.

On 25 November Korean trade unions held a protest action and press conference outside the Fiji Consulate in Seoul. The demonstration was in response to the Resolution on Fiji adopted by the 12th IUF-A/P Regional Conference in Bali on 18-20 October and was held in conjunction with the ITUC campaign on Fiji. KFSU initiated the action as a concrete step in implementing the IUF-A/P resolution on Fiji.

Support the Freeport workers! Sign the statement

The Freeport-McMoRan strike continues. The workersunion at the Grasberg mine, PUK-SP-KEP-SPSI, together with KASBI and AAWL have issued a joint statement. Your endorsement is requested. The statement ends with the following demands:   

  • We demand that the government immediately stop militarising the dispute and withdraw police and military officers from the Grasberg mine and surrounding areas.
  • We support the PUK  SP - KEP SPSI target of wage parity across Freeport operations in the world
  • We demand world best Occupational Health & Safety standards at Freeport
  • We demand that Freeport stop polluting the environment
  • We support the right of workers to strike, demonstrate, picket and defend their communities and organisations
  • Given the history of exploitation and environmental destruction that Freeport has caused we would support a workers’ expropriation of Freeport

More information on the dispute here.   Donate to the striking workers here.  
Read the full statement in Bahasa Indonesia here or in English here.
List of endorsements here.   Endorse the statement here.

International Migrants Day

The 18th of December is international migrants day. Most migrants around the world are workers who leave their country of origin to find work or better employment conditions. Unfortunately, due to international and national laws that discriminate against them, many migrants end up working in precarious employment and unsafe conditions.

In South Korea, the Migrant Trade Union has been at the forefront of protecting the rights of migrant workers in South Korea. They are calling for supporters to join them on the 18th of December for a rally.

 

Nespressure

As reported previously, Nestlé workers in Kabirwala, Pakistan and Pajang, Indonesia have been fighting for the right of workers to form unions without fear of intimidation and reprisals.

The company in both of these locations is continuing to refuse to negotiate with the workers. The workers have been fighting for months and are still determined. For more information and solidarity click here.

Freeport-McMoRan strike continues

The strike against US-based Freeport-McMoRan by the ICEM-affiliated PT Freeport Workers’ Union runs into its 11th week. The union plans another notice to extend the strike to January 15, 2012. 

IMF has extended financial support to the strikers. The ICEM has called trade unions to assist the union in feeding striking families (See November 10 ICEM letter), but in an escalation of the repression against the workers, the banks in West Papua are refusing to accept the money that is being raised all around the world for the strikers and their communities. See the latest ICEM report here and more information here.

The police is continuing to harass union officials. The two months' struggle by Freeport workers has been summarised in this short video.
Information to make donations to the striking workers here.

The workersunion at the Grasberg mine, PUK-SP-KEP-SPSI, with KASBI and AAWL have issued a joint statement which you can read here. Your endorsement is requested.

Freeport strike continues

In the latest negotiation with SPSI, the management increased its first-year wage offer to 35% from 30%, while offering 11% in 2012. It also requested the union to clear the blockades that have been set up. The union refused.

The union is demanding a pay raise up to US$4 per hour. This is lower than their initial demand, US$ 7.5 dollars per hour. In comparison, workers at the Freeport mine in Chino Mines, New Mexico receive between US$11.90 to $15.10 per hour.

As many as 11,000 workers are estimated to be taking part in the stoppage, which Juli Parorrongan says was intended to last a month but will continue until demands of an increase from a minimum hourly wage of two US dollars are met. He also says that the working conditions at the Grasberg mine are probably the most dangerous in the world and that the workers are also at risk of being shot by Indonesian soldiers.

The two months' struggle by Freeport workers has been summarised in this short video.
Updated information to make donations to the striking workers here.

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