Jokowi urged to resolve Freeport worker strike amid share talks with CEOs

Jokowi (front) receives Ricard Adkerson (front right) at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Washington DC, United States, on Monday, November 13, 2023. During the meeting, President Jokowi welcomed the discussion on the addition of Freeport shares in Indonesia and the extension of mining licenses that have reached the final stage. - Photo: BPMI Setpres/Laily Rachev

Jayapura, Jubi – In the midst of ongoing discussions surrounding the incorporation of Freeport shares in Indonesia and the potential extension of mining licenses—a matter reaching its final stages—there is an urgent plea directed at President Joko Widodo and PT Freeport Indonesia. They’re implored to swiftly address the persistent issue involving 8,300 workers who have been on strike since May 1, 2017.

Representing these workers, the Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua) points to Freeport’s Fourlong policy as the root cause of the strike. This policy implementation occurred amidst the ongoing tumult between the Indonesian government and Freeport concerning shares and mining licenses.

Despite the Indonesian government’s acquisition of a majority stake (51 percent) and the commitment to establish a smelter in 2018, the strike continues unabated.

Emanuel Gobay, Director of the Papua Legal Aid Institute, asserts that both the Indonesian President and Freeport’s CEO have failed to address the strike in accordance with the National Human Rights Commission’s recommendations in 2017, followed by subsequent directives in 2018. Gobay strongly criticizes them for prioritizing financial gains over the welfare of these workers.

“This failure to act violates labor laws intended to ensure humane treatment, welfare, and protection for workers. These actions infringe upon a multitude of labor rights, encompassing health, life, education for workers’ children, fair wages, welfare, and various other rights guaranteed by human rights laws,” Gobay said.

The urgency emphasized by the Papua Legal Aid Institute lies in the necessity to resolve the worker strike before any additional discussions or decisions concerning share incorporation or license extensions take place. They stress that both the Indonesian President and Freeport’s CEO are obliged, by law, to adhere to labor laws and uphold the rights of the striking workers.

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