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Illegal labour & other abuses
Reports from the Departments of Community Developed and Labor in PNG reveal the appalling conditions for workers employed by Rimbunan Hijau.
to the reports, Papua New Guinean workers are forced to endure low wages,
"cheating and dishonesty" by the company, cramped and unhygienic
living conditions, racial and sexual abuse and there is a complete disregard
for their health and safety.
"The company's treatment of its citizen employees reflects labor exploitation and slavery and should be condemned at all levels", says the Department of Labor.
reports contain allegations that the Police Task Force is "there
to protect the interests of the company and their supporters and not citizens
of Papua New Guinea" and that the police are "bribed by RH".
reports also record that in one logging operation alone there were over
one hundred foreign workers and that the vast majority are there illegally,
with no valid work permit or visa and most were employed in menial and
semi skilled jobs that could easily be done by local workers.
reports were written after inspections of RH company facilities and interviews
with workers, company management and local people.
According to the Department of Community Development wages paid by Rimbunan Hijau are criminally low - just 63 toea an hour (that's about 15 US cents). And wages have not increased for more than ten years.
reports allege that most of what is paid is then taken back by the company
as they oblige their workers to buy all their food and other supplies
in company canteens. Here it is claimed the prices are not displayed and
the workers only find out how much they have been charged when they receive
their wages with the money already deducted.
to the Department of Labor, the prices charged are "exorbitantly
high" and "this is absolutely cheating and dishonesty by the
Hijau is also accused of not providing leave fares for its workers from
outside the Province and wages are "totally insufficient" for
workers to pay their own travel expenses, so they spend their leave time
trapped inside the camp unable to visit their homes and families.
people and workers families also claim they are prevented by the company
from opening their own stores.
According to the official reports workers are also forced to endure very cramped and unhygienic accommodation. Two families are forced to share a four metre square room with only a curtain to separate them and a single switch for the one light and one fan. For single workers, they are forced to live seven to a room.
are "appalling, with overcrowding and are totally unsafe".
New Guinean women allege that they are forced to have sex with the company
bosses and overseas workers. Some Indonesian women are also brought in
to the camps (illegally) as sex workers.
These workers are alleged to suffer appalling abuse as "Malaysians who have been involved are said to have put ball bearings into their private parts to boost their sexual desires, however, this has had very severe effects on the females they have sexual contact with".
Department of Labor report alleges that Rimbunan Hijau uses large numbers
of illegal foreign workers in its logging operations, has no interest
in the training and development of local workers and implements no health
and safety practices to protect its workers.
just one logging operation Rimbunan Hijau was found to employ at least
one hundred and ten foreign workers while there is just one Papua New
Guinean in a management role.
to the Department of Labor, only thirty one out of the one hundred and
twelve non citizens identified were legally employed by the logging company.
ONLY 31 out of 112. That is just 28%. EIGHTY ONE foreign workers in just
one logging camp are there ILLEGALLY.
The Department of Labor report concludes, "the company has total disrespect for the Employment of Non Citizens Act" and the report identifies the "management's ignorance and disrespect for the law".
Labor Department report is also very critical of Rimbunan Hijau's attitude
towards staff training. "Training, training implementation and localization
is non existent" says the report.
These are just a few quotes from the report on health and safety issues:
The report concludes "the behavior by the company is totally unacceptable and must be penalized".