Striking Workers Reach Deal at Indonesia Mine

Posted December 14th, 2011 at 5:15 am (UTC-5)
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Striking workers at a U.S.-owned gold and copper mine in eastern Indonesia say they have reached a deal on a pay raise that would bring an end to a three-month labor dispute.

A union spokesman said Wednesday that workers at Freeport McMoran's Grasberg mine in the remote eastern province of Papua have agreed to a 37 percent pay increase and could return to work on Saturday.

About 8,000 unionized miners walked off the job on September 15, demanding a pay raise of up to 300 percent. The workers, most of which make $2-$3 dollars an hour, claim they are among the lowest paid miners in the world.

The strike is the second at the facility this year. Miners walked off their jobs for eight days in July, protesting low wages and the dismissal of union leaders.

The Grasberg mine is one of the world's largest mining operations. It holds the world's biggest gold and second largest copper reserves. The mine last year reported sales revenue of more than $5 billion.

Since the labor dispute, the facility has been subject to crippling roadblocks along its supply routes, as well as attacks on its pipelines by suspected saboteurs.

In October, unidentified gunmen opened fire near the mine, killing six substitute workers in two separate attacks.