August 19, 2017 / 12:45 PM / a year ago

Fired workers protest against U.S.-owned miner Freeport Indonesia

Aug 19 (Reuters) - Hundreds of workers laid off by Freeport Indonesia blocked routes and set trucks on fire near the company’s mines in the eastern province of Papua on Saturday, company officials said.

The Indonesian unit of U.S. mining giant Freeport McMoran Inc. has been embroiled in a labour dispute since May, when around 5,000 workers went on strike to protest against mass layoffs.

Freeport says the layoffs were triggered by unexpected revisions earlier this year in government rules on taxes and royalties.

The protests by the ex-workers, who were demanding their jobs back, prompted police personnel to secure the area.

A spokesman for the company said the protests have not had an impact on operations, although employee access to worksites was being affected.

“Some of our employee convoys have been cancelled and we will not be scheduling further convoys until the situation is conducive again. We have urged our workers to avoid this area until further notice,” said Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama.

The company is a major source of employment and livelihoods in the impoverished eastern-most province of Indonesia. (Reporting Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Wilda Asmarini, Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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