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Freeport eases travel restrictions, grants days off to Papuan workers following protest

Jakarta Post - August 26, 2020

Jakarta – Gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia has agreed to meet the demands of its employees at the Grasberg complex in Tembagapura, Papua, after more than 1,000 workers blocked access to the world's biggest gold mine.

Freeport Indonesia spokesperson Riza Pratama said the management had come to an agreement following a meeting with Mimika regency's local COVID-19 task force and Mimika Regent Eltinus Omaleng in Timika on Tuesday.

Per the agreement, Freeport Indonesia employees stationed in Tembagapura may visit their families in neighboring Timika on their days off and take COVID-19 rapid tests there in accordance with company protocol, Riza said.

Furthermore, Freeport Indonesia employees would no longer be required to take polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests upon entering Timika via the Gorong-Gorong bus terminal, and would instead only be subjected to temperature checks, he added.

In the next six weeks, the company's 4,800 workers who have not taken a single leave since April are to be given priority for leave, according to Riza. Those who had been working during the COVID-19 pandemic would also rewarded by the company, he said.

"The management will provide financial rewards to those employees," Riza said on Tuesday as quoted by kompas.com.

More than 1,000 Freeport miners protested the firm's decision to stop visits to their families over health concerns during a public demonstration at the Grasberg complex on Monday.

The protest, which started early Monday morning, came in response to a company decision to cancel bus services to the city of Timika in response to fears about the spread of coronavirus infections.

In May, Freeport said it was reducing its staff at the mine, which employed about 25,000 people, after virus infections rose in the area.

Mimika Regent Eltinus previously urged President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to temporarily close the local Freeport mining complex as the number of COVID-19 cases in the area continued to rise. (rfa)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/08/26/freeport-eases-travel-restrictions-grants-days-off-to-papuan-workers-following-protest.html