Strike!Published by MAC on 2001-05-01
In late 1997, almost the entire workforce came out on strike at KPC, demanding a 50% increase in wages, subsidies for water and electricity, and an end to computerised surveillance of the mining operation. Two thousand workers staged a sit-in at a large field within the KPC mining concession, shouting slogans such as "You get paid in dollars but we get paid in rupiahs!" - referring to the disparity between foreign exchange payments for upper echelon workers housed within the KPC company township, and that of ordinary workers, who had to contend with a rapidly depressing Indonesian rupiah. After five days the strikers returned to work on promises of negotiations; the company shortly afterwards agreed to subsidise water and electricity, but refused to increase its offer of a 12% increase in pay. Tools were laid down again in November the same year - and workers were forced back to the pits under threats of dismissal without compensation [Surya July 29 1997; Manuntung October 10 1997, 23/10/97, 25/12/97; ICEM Report, op cit]. At a later point wages were increased by 25% [ICEM report op cit].