Workers at a giant Indonesian mine owned by US company Freeport-McMoRan burnt rocks and shot arrows at pigs Sunday, marking the end of their three-month strike, a union official said.
“These rituals were part of a traditional ceremony to mark the end of our strike and that we are ready to start life anew,” the workers’ union spokesman Virgo Solossa told AFP.
Solossa said that roadblocks to the sprawling Grasberg mine, which holds the world’s largest gold and second-largest copper reserves in restive Papua province, were also removed.
“We will resume work very soon. Tomorrow (Monday) we will mobilise 400 workers to the mine and see if they face any security issues such as shootings. We will then send more workers,” he added.
Around 8,000 of Freeport’s 23,000 workers have been on strike since September 15, crippling production at the mine.
Under an agreement reached with the company mid-December, they will receive a 37 percent pay hike over the next two years as well as benefits including housing allowances, education assistance and retirement savings plans.
“Most of the workers were satisfied with the deal,” Solossa said.
The strike is one of a wave of industrial actions across Southeast Asia’s largest economy, where the cost of living is rising and a burgeoning middle class is demanding a greater share of the nation’s economic success.
The action at Grasberg triggered a spate of violence, with at least eight people killed in ambush attacks and a clash with police in the already restive province.
The workers claimed to be Freeport’s lowest-paid employees in the world, including those at mines in Africa and South America.