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13 Mar 2023

Trend Asia (Indonesia)

Indonesia: Unsafe working conditions at Chinese-owned nickel smelters led to 76 injuries and 57 deaths from 2015 to 2020, CSO report says

"Workplace Accident: Neglect and Violation of Employee Rights in Indonesia Nickel Industrial Areas" 13 March 2023

Smelters in Indonesia,  owned mainly by overseas companies from China, are terrible places due to their unsafe working conditions. The manager of the smelter cannot guarantee the workers’ security and safety.

Trend Asia, a non-government organization based in Indonesia focusing on energy transition, monitored news on digital media from November to December 2022. The keyword for the monitoring was ‘workplace accidents in Indonesian Smelter’. The monitoring retrieved approximately 100 news results from 2015 to 2020 about the smelter’s workplace accidents.

The news reports 68 workplace incidents in 15 smelters in Sulawesi and Maluku Island, where most Indonesian smelters operate. As a result of workplace incidents, 76 workers were injured, and the death of 57 workers related to the smelter’s operation activities in the span of 2015 to 2020. The number of deaths caused by workplace accidents is 47 workers, and 10 were suspected of committing suicide.

Details on the identities of the Chinese foreign workers, of whom 13 passed away, and 15 had injuries. Up to 10 Chinese workers who passed away were suspected of having committed suicide. The number of Indonesian workers who died was 40 workers, and 14 workers were injured.

Due to the little information in the news that has been gathered, the number of identities based on nationality differs from the number in the attachment (below).

Trend Asia and a few union workers demand the Indonesian Government to improve their work supervision system to ensure worker safety and security and prevent future smelter workplace accidents. We also demand that the China-owned company manage smelters per Indonesian national legislation and international best practices for workers’ safety and security.

(Press Release in Indonesian Language: Kecelakaan Kerja di PT GNI: Pengabaian dan Pelanggaran Kemanusiaan di Kawasan Industri Nikel Indonesia)

Part of the following timelines

Chinese migrant workers abroad and challenges they face

Indonesia: Unsafe working conditions at Chinese-owned nickel smelters led to 76 injuries and 57 deaths from 2015 to 2020, CSO report shows

Indonesia: Delong Nickel Industrial Area in Sulawesi