13 Jul 2011

Freeport strikers to return to work

8:57 pm on 13 July 2011

Striking workers at Freeport-McMoRan copper and gold mine in Indonesia's Papua area will return to work today after their union said the firm agreed to its demands in yesterday's talks.

The union had already promised that 8,000 workers would return to restart paralysed output yesterday after a late-night deal on Monday.

But it had backtracked and called for further demands to be met.

The union has been pushing for a doubling of salaries for workers earning 1.50 US$ per hour, saying other Freeport workers around the world get 10 times that.

For the eight-day strike to end, the union wanted the Indonesia CEO Armando Mahler to be included in negotiations over pay.

It was also pushing to have talks with Freeport Chairman James Moffett, and for the company to sack some Indonesian managers.

Union leaders say Mr Mahler will be involved intermittently in pay talks, which are due to start next week.