Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Freeport, Kiani deny firing unionists

National News - November 02, 2006
Ridwan Max Sijabat, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Miner PT Freeport McMoran Indonesia and pulp and paper company PT Kiani Kertas have denied a labor union's claim they intimidated or dismissed workers who tried to organize.

The two firms are among 18 companies and two police precincts reported recently to Manpower and Transmigration Minister Erman Suparno by the Confederation of Prosperous Indonesian Labor Unions (KSBSI) for their allegedly illegal anti-union behavior.

Kiani Kertas spokesman Sukijo confirmed security authorities in Tanjung Redep, East Kalimantan, had deployed 63 Police Mobile Brigade officers to secure the company premises. The move followed a rally to protest the management's rejection of the recent establishment of a new KSBSI union at the company.

"We have vital assets and we don't want the labor unrest to disrupt operations. We need the security officers to ensure the operation will continue," he told The Jakarta Post by phone.

More than 100 workers staged a demonstration Monday to protest the management's rejection of the union at the company and the dismissal of seven activists.

However, Sukijo said no unionists had ever been dismissed from the factory. The management had never intimidated or dismissed workers who wanted to set up a union, he said.

"The workers have the right to unionize but they are required to comply with the law in exercising their rights," he said.

A majority of more than 1,300 workers employed in the factory and its industrial forests have joined the forestry sector Confederation of All-Indonesian Workers Unions (KSPSI), which has been the single partner with the management in negotiations to review their collective contracts.

PT Freeport spokesman Mindo Pangaribuan said management had never prohibited employees from setting up unions. The company had involved the KSPSI in negotiations to renew collective labor agreements, he said.

Freeport, a United States-based copper and gold mining company, employs more than 9,000 Indonesian and foreign workers at its Grassberg mine in Timika, Papua.

The union has also brought the cases to the labor court.

Law No. 21/2001 on workers and labor unions prohibits the management from intimidating and dismissing workers for their activism. It carries a maximum five-year jail sentence and a maximum fine of Rp 500 million against individuals or corporations violating the law.

The Indonesian Employers' Association (Apindo) confirmed it had received many complaints from labor unions about employers rejecting the establishment of new unions in their companies.

Apindo secretary general Djimanto, however, said union leaders often confused legitimate dismissals with unlawful ones.

Recent cases of workers' rights violations as reported by KSBSI

No. Company Location Victim

1. PT Freeport McMoran Timika, Papua 1 unionist dismissed
2. PT Dahana, Berau E. Kalimantan unionists transferred
3. PT Pangan Sari Utama Sorong, Papua 98 workers intimidated
4. Security authorities Pasir regency unionists intimidated
5. PT Rukun Tripilar West Java unionists dismissed
6. Army officials Pasuruan intimidation
7. PT S-4 Dumai Riau intimidation
8. Perum PPD Jakarta 3,000 members intimidated, unpaid
9. PT Mayasari Bhakti Jakarta 7 unionists laid off
10.PT Mitra Surya Eratama Tangerang 40 workers dismissed
11.PT Inti Kimiatama Perkasa Medan 3 unionists dismissed
12.PT Milan Indotex Jakarta unionists not registered with Jamsostek
13. PT Meindo Elang Indah Balikpapan SBSI units excluded from collective bargaining
14. PT Sumatra Sarana
Sekar Sakti Medan rejection by management of SBSI unit
15. PT Bara Jaya Utama E. Kalimantan Workers intimidated by hoodlums
16. PT Karet Alam Aceh unionist dismissed
17. CV Salute, Sukoharjo C. Java nine unionist reprimanded
18. PT Inti Kimiatama Medan rejection of SBSI
19. Berau Police E. Kalimantan unionists intimidated
20. PT Kiani Kertas E. Kalimantan seven unionists dismissed

Source: SBSI



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