Oil palm Workers Imprisoned for Demanding Workers’ Rights.

Jayapura, 21st May 2014, SKPKC received a report from two employees of PT Tandan Sawita Papua. In the report, they related their frustration with the company after having been fired without having received a warning letter beforehand. According to Alexander Tnesi and Marthen Watory’s explanation, the dismissal was a result of a demonstration by oil palm workers of the Plantation III Anggrek on 25th January at the Plantation III Long House, East Arso.

In his statement, Alex told of how the trigger for that demo was the reduction in working days, from six days a week to four. A second reason was the reduction on major public holidays, so that a monthly wage of 1,700,000 Rupiah could go down to 1,200,000 Rupiah. The third demand was to raise the wages in line with the provincial minimum wage in Papua. As the company didn’t respond to the demonstrators’ demands, a plan was made to continue the demo at the provincial Governor’s office. On the way there, the people who were travelling in three trucks were confronted by police from Arso City police station, who demanded that the workers return to their jobs at the company.

Two months after the demo Alex and Marten received letters calling them to report to the police station. The letter explained that Alex and Marten had been accused of threatening PT Tandan Sawita Papua staff during the demo on 2th January. In their statements, Alex related that he was held from 8th – 26th April, meanwhile Marten was detained from 6th – 26th April. On the 26th April both men were set free but were asked by the police to write statements. The contents of these statements were dictated by a police officer and written down by Marten, and in essence said that the two would be fired from the company and would not make any further demands to the company. If they made any demands they would face a legal process at the hands of the police.

Source: Fransiskan Papua http://www.fransiskanpapua.net/2014/05/1349/upah-buruh-menunggu-kebijakan-bupati-jayapura.php

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