Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc's union in Indonesia will consider almost halving its pay demand if the firm agrees an extra pay hike when workers are promoted, the union said on Tuesday, taking the near two-month strike a step towards resolution.
Virgo Solossa, a union official at the giant Grasberg mine, told Reuters that workers would consider cutting their wage demand to $4.00 an hour from $7.50 if the company agrees to add another $1 when workers improve their skills and are promoted.
The $4-figure, or an increase of about 88 percent, is just a figure that needs further calculation, and there is no deal yet, Solossa said via telephone. Workers had initially demanded a basic pay of $30-$200.
Freeport Indonesia executive vice president Sinta Sirait told domestic media on Monday, when pay talks resumed, that the company has offered a 35 percent pay rise -- versus 30 percent previously -- from current wages of $1.00 to $3.00 an hour.
Talks to end the strike that began on Sept. 15, making it one of the worst in Indonesia's mining industry, are ongoing and a deal would help to lift road blocks to the mine and expedite repairs of damaged pipes transporting concentrates to the port.
The disruptions had forced the firm to declare force majeure on shipments on Oct. 26, supporting copper prices that had been under pressure by concerns over the world economy.
Freeport has started repairing the damage but has not been able to gain full access to the affected areas because of road blocks by striking workers, the firm had said.
As a result, the firm suggested it might not achieve fourth-quarter production and sales targets.
The firm has also gradually increased its offer and also proposed that lower-level workers get a bigger pay increase when promoted.
We want greater share of the profit the firm got from Grasberg. We know how much they earned, they must not forget that, because we won't, Solossa said.