May Day rally in Papua demands reinstatement of sacked Freeport workers

Source – May 1, 2019
Papua Labour Movement May Day rally in Jayapura – May 1, 2019 (Antara)
Papua Labour Movement May Day rally in Jayapura – May 1, 2019 (Antara)

Chandra Iswinarno – A commemoration of International Labour Day which was held at the Imbi Park in Jayapura, Papua, was only allowed to proceed for around 30 minutes. Nevertheless, the protesters who came from the Papuan Labour Movement (GBP) were still able to articulate a number of demands.

The GBP, which is made up of the Papua Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Papua), the Papua Human Rights Lawyers Association (PAHAM Papua), the Papua Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras Papua), the Democratic Alliance for Papua (ALDP Papua), the Papua Independent Student Forum (FIM Papua), Papuan Voices, the Papuan People’s Democratic Movement (Garda Papua), the PT Freeport Indonesia Striking Workers (Moker Buruh) as well as Papuan labour, student and social coalitions, demanded that the government conduct an audit of workers’ wages throughout Papua.

“There were several demands conveyed during the action. First, that the government immediately audits workers’ wages in all companies operating in the land of Papua. Second, that the government and PT Freeport Indonesia immediately resolve the strike by 8,300 PT Freeport Indonesia workers”, said LBH Papua Director Emanuel Gobay as quoted by the Antara news agency on May 1.

Third, that the government abolishes outsourcing in the land of Papua. Fourth, that workers be allowed to establish trade unions in their respective work places. Fifth, that companies be obliged to give workers a holiday every May 1. And sixth, that the government immediately form a labour desk to resolve labour disputes.

Seventh, that employers be obliged to pay wages in accordance with the Papua provincial minimum wage (UMP) and eighth, that companies be prohibited from employing underage workers.

The GBP also demanded that PT Freeport reinstate the 8,300 striking workers whose right to strike has been pirated.

Gobay revealed that police initially prohibited them from commemorating May Day but they still tried to lobby and communicate with them. “But we established communication and lobbied until the police allowed us to hold a peaceful action to commemorate International Labour Day at the Imbi Park in Jayapura, North Jayapura district”, he said.

According to Gobay, the police only gave them permission to hold the action for 30 minutes so the GBP held the rally between 2-2.30 pm.

“The action was closely watched over by police, although our colleagues in the Papua Labour Movement were still able to give speeches and display a variety of messages about workers on placards and unfurl two banners filled with demands”, he said. (Antara)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Aksi May Day di Papua, Pemerintah Dituntut Selesaikan Kasus Buruh Freeport”.]