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Police Leads Mediation to Settle Workers’ Dispute in North Morowali

Indonesia’s national police continues pushing for dialogue and mediation to resolve a workers’ dispute leading to a riot at the nickel smelter factory PT Gunbuster Nickel Industry (GNI) in North Morowali District, Central Sulawesi.

A riot broke out at the factory site last Saturday (January 14) when a workers’ demonstration due to a dispute between the company management and the workers’ union took a violent turn.

“At present, the mediation, presided over by the local police chief and the North Morowali District authority, as well as relevant parties, is ongoing,” Indonesian Police’s Public Relations Division Head Inspector General Dedi Prasetyo noted here Monday.

Prasetyo also confirmed that normalcy had been restored in conditions at the site, as all parties seek peaceful ways to resolve their dispute.

“At present, the situation has gradually returned to conducive,” the division head stated.

Meanwhile, Central Sulawesi Police’s Public Relations Division Head Senior Commissioner Didik Supratono stated that two workers were killed in the Saturday riot.

“There are two casualties (in the riot), specifically, a foreign worker and a local worker,” Supratono remarked.

To maintain security conditions following the brawl, the police continue to remain on standby at various locations in the company, including at the factory complex gate, piers, and other strategic places, he noted.

The riot started from a National Workers’ Union (SPN) demonstration at the PT GNI site on Saturday morning following the failure of mediation between the workers and the company management hosted by the North Morowali Manpower Office on Friday (January 13).

Following the Saturday demonstration, the company management agreed to fulfil most of the workers’ demands on their safety, clarity on employment status and wage, as well as re-employment of workers fired on strikes and assistance to families of two workers, who died in an industrial fire at the factory last December.

The demonstration turned into a riot on Saturday evening as demonstrators, allegedly agitated by provocateurs, wrecked company facilities and workers’ accommodation, causing extensive damage. Some 70 people had been arrested due to the riot.