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16 May 2024


Indonesia: Delong Nickel accused of restricting workers' freedom through 'systematic wage withholding', arbitrary fines and sexual harassment

See all tags Allegations

[Summary translation from Chinese to English provided by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre]

Delong, a Chinese company operating nickel industrial parks in Sulawesi, Indonesia, has been accused of systematically withholding wages from its workers, including Chinese migrants, for at least five years since 2019. A video posted on Douyin (Chinese TikTok) in May 2024 alleges that Delong failed to pay wages on its Phase III construction project, reportedly the latest in a pattern of wage withholding from construction, steel, and power plant workers.

According to 2023 reports, Delong's Sulawesi operations employed over 40,000 workers, including nearly 5,000 Chinese migrants. Workers allege that Delong uses wage withholding as a means to control and trap them, as they cannot afford to leave without sacrificing months of unpaid salary. Compounding the abuse, workers report salaries lower than promised, arbitrary fines and deductions, poor living conditions, sexual harassment, and internal corruption.

When workers attempt to demand their pay, Delong managers and security personnel allegedly threaten them with jail time. One worker, Mr. K, described the experience as a scam, leaving workers with little after fines and unable to recoup recruitment fees. He has returned to China but is still trying to claim his unpaid wages.