Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More Papuans want to work for Freeport mining

At least 400 demonstrators from the Amungme and Kamoro Job-seekers Solidarity orgnisation rode public buses from the Mimika regency capital of Timika to the Nemangkawai Mining Institute's office demanding that they be given priority for employment at the PT Freeport Indonesia mining operations in Papua province, Markus Makur reported for The Jakarta Post.

"As far as we can see, PT Freeport Indonesia and its subsidiaries have disregarded the local people. Now, in our rally we demand that Memangkawai employs local people at PT Freeport," said Gerson Meno Imbir, the head of the protest group. "Now in the era of special autonomy, indigenous people should be given priority in PT Freeport recruitment," he said.

Deputy chief of the solidarity group Pontius Kelanangame questioned the achievements of the Mimika Manpower and Resettlement Office and said that he felt nothing had been done by the office to help the local people. "We want to be involved in development in Mimika regency rather than simply being made development objects. We support progress in Mimika regency but please pay attention to the indigenous people," he said.

Yusuf Tapa, one of Nemangkawai Mining Institute's staff members, said his office had received notification of the aspirations of job-seekers from Amungme and Kamoro as well as five other tribes. Nemangkawai, he said, has been committed to recruiting at least 57 workers per month for employment at PT Freeport's underground, operations and mechanic sections and another 120 have joined training sessions as apprentices.

"Nemangkawai has contributed greatly to the seven tribes in terms of the development of worker's skills. Those learning enough skills will be transferred to PT Freeport," he said. From 26 to 30 March there will be a recruitment test for local apprentices in Mimika. If they pass the test they will be trained, Yusuf said. If not they will be given another chance to try again at a later date, he added.

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