Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Mining giant board members a no-show

National News - April 17, 2007

Markus Makur, The Jakarta Post, Timika

Gold and mining giant PT Freeport Indonesia failed to attend a meeting Monday regarding their native employees' welfare needs in Timika, Mimika regency, Papua.

But Freeport's government relations manager Jhoni Lingga said Freeport boardmembers failed to attend the meeting with Tongoi Papua because they were busy preparing for a meeting on Tuesday with the same group.

Tongoi Papua is an informal organization that facilitates communication between companies and native Papuan employees.

While some representatives from Freeport attended the Monday meeting, the invited boardmembers were a no-show, a local councilor said.

Freeport spokesman Mindo Pangaribuan said Tongoi Papua had already conveyed to management the employees' requests and that these were currently being evaluated.

The meeting Freeport boardmembers failed to attend Monday was sponsored by members of Mimika's local legislative council.

But legislator Stefanus Rahangiar said Freeport management paid no attention to the council's invitation to help find a solution to the employees' needs.

"The demand for a salary increase raised by Tongoi Papua is being discussed with the labor union at Freeport," Rahangiar said.

"A threat from Tongoi Papua that employees will go on strike (has been put in writing) to management as well," he said.

Chairman of the local council, Yoseph Yopi Kilangin, said Freeport was not serious about their native employees' wants or needs because they had for 40 days made no response to Tongoi Papua.

"The fact is that Freeport management sent only its representatives to the (council-sponsored meeting)," Kilangin said.

"(When there is an) internal problem, the company's (upper) management should settle it as soon as possible."



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