One dead and several injured after police open fired on striking workers in Indonesia

Jakarta (dpa) – One person was killed and several injured Monday when police opened fire on striking workers at a metals mine in Indonesia’s Papua province, a union official and the company said.
Thousands of workers were trying to enter the highland mine operated by US-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc to stop substitute workers from breaking the strike when security forces opened fire, said Virgo Solossa, a union official.
“We were negotiating when shots were fired,” he said. The company’s local branch PT Freeport Indonesia confirmed that one person was killed and several were injured, including policemen.
“We regret the disturbance of security that happened this morning,” a company statement said.
It said the strikers had blocked roads, intimidated other workers who refused to join and forcibly taken over company vehicles.
More than 10,000 Indonesian workers at Freeport have been on strike since September 15, demanding better pay and conditions.
The workers are demanding their current minimum wage of 1.50 dollars an hour be raised to 12.50 dollars.
They rejected the company’s offer of a 22-per-cent increase, the Freeport statement said.
Freeport’s Grasberg mine in Papua has the world’s largest recoverable gold and copper reserves, according to the company.
Author: Ahmad Pathoni