Labour Union files lawsuit against Freeport Indonesia and Department of Manpower and Transmigration

The Federation of Chemical, Energy and Mining Workers of the Indonesian Labour Union (PC FSP KEP SPSI) in Mimika regency has filed a lawsuit against Freeport Indonesia (PT FI) and the Indonesian Department of Manpower and Transmigration (Disnakertrans) in the administrative court in Jayapura. The workers union will be represented in court by the Papuan Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua). The lawsuit is one of multiple initiatives of former Freeport workers who were dismissed by PT FI after the company introduced a “furlough program” in February 2017. According to a report by the Indonesian NGO Lokataru, approximately 12,000 permanent workers and 20,000 contract workers were laid off. A few months later, PT FI reportedly fired around 4,200 workers participating in a strike against the furlough program.

The Director of LBH Papua, Manuel Gobay, explained in an interview with the media outlet Jubi, that the right to strike is protected under Indonesian Law 13/2003 concerning Manpower. The Disnakertrans officially recognised the strike per stipulations under Articles 139 and 140 of Law 13/2003 concerning Manpower. However, the Disnakertrans failed to follow-up on legal actions against PT FI after the company did not react to a notification letter by the ministry.

On 30 August 2018, PT FI workers reported the former Minister for Employment, Hanif Dhakiri, to the Ombudsman national office in Jakarta. The complaint was filed on the grounds of maladministration because the minister had allegedly not taken a neutral position in the conflict between the workers and PT FI.

PT FI is a subsidiary of the transnational mining company Freeport McMoRan. In December 2018, 51.2 % of Freeport McMoRan's shares of PT FI were bought by the state mining company PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) and the Provincial Government of Papua.