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18 Jan 2023

China Labor Watch

Indonesia: Chinese-run nickel smelter employs Chinese workers to break strike by Indonesian workers, labour watchdog says

"Chinese-run Indonesia Nickel Smelter Employs Chinese Workers To Break Strike" 18 January 2023

Last week, a labour strike escalated into a violent conflict at PT Gunbuster Nickel Industry (GNI), a smelter industrial compound in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, causing at least two reported deaths. Among these deaths were one Chinese worker and one Indonesian worker. More than a dozen workers were injured.

From January 11 to January 14, Indonesia’s National Workers Union (SPN) organized hundreds of Indonesian workers for a four-day strike, demanding the company to implement safety procedures abiding by the Indonesian law; provide personal protective equipment to workers; stop unexplained wage cuts; and terminate unfair contracting practices. The union also demands GNI to re-employ SPN members who were unjustly fired due to previous strikes and acts of protest. [...]

In reaction to the strike, however, GNI management used Chinese workers to break the strike, blockade the factory gates, and protect the company’s property. In a circulating video filmed by an Indonesian worker on January 14, Chinese workers were equipped with metal pipes and physically clashed with the striking Indonesian workers. Commotion was stirred up among Indonesian workers and, later in the day, escalated into a riot in which Indonesian workers set fire to the workers’ dormitories and company vehicles. [...]