11 Jul 2011

Papua mine strike enters second week

6:51 am on 11 July 2011

A strike paralysing production at Freeport Indonesia's Grasberg mine has entered its second week after talks broke down on Friday between the company and workers.

8,000 workers at the mine in Papua, one of the world's largest sources of copper and gold, have been on strike since last Monday.

The union which represents the workers asked the U.S.-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold to send Chairman James Moffett to the mine to negotiate.

It says its message is clear, no Mr Moffett, then no work.

The union is pushing for higher pay for workers getting $1.50 an hour, since it says other Freeport workers worldwide get 10 times that.

Union official, Virgo Solossa, says talks will continue today but his team do not want to negotiate with current management.

The local parliament's head, Trifena Tinal, is calling for Freeport to change its negotiating team, and called on the U.S. miner to not discipline or dismiss any workers over the strike.

Freeport has said the strike is illegal, though it said earlier on Friday it was prepared to start negotiations over pay for a two-year period starting in October.