Category Archives: Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal Indonesia

Indonesia Metalworkers (FSPMI) Demonstrate in Jakarta, Demand Social Security Reform

Should the government fail to reform the social security system the Indonesian unions will call for a nationwide strike on May 1st. – FSPMI President Said Iqbal

The International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF) has this press release about the Feb 6th protest of over 10,000 workers in Jakarta, organized by the Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal Indonesia (FSPMI), a federation representing metal workers in Indonesia.  The demonstration focused on demands for reform of Indonesia’s social security system and better protections against the precarious employment status of many workers that is a result of rampant sub-contracting.

Also in attendance was Dr. Ribka Tjiptaning, a member of the Indonesian parliament and the political party Partai Demokrat Indonesia – Perjuangan (PDI-P, the Indonesian Party of Democratic Struggle).  This strikes me as notable, since I have not often seen mainstream politicians cited as attending or speaking at labor demonstrations.

Feb 6 Rally by Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal Indonesia

PT Sumi Indo Wiring System Workers Demand Freedom To Choose New Union

According to reports from Kompas and Pikiran Rakyat, hundreds a workers demonstrated outside PT Sumi Indo Wiring System in Purwakarta, West Java, after the company dismissed and suspended workers in retaliation for organizing activities.  Workers are currently attempting to organize the factory with Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal Indonesia (FSPMI) and see these dismissals as retaliation for attempts by workers to independently choose a new union.  The demonstrators demanded that the workers be reinstated, with back pay, and that the company no longer interfere with their right to choose a new union.

The company emphasizes that the workers are already organized, under the more conservative and less confrontational Konfederasi Serikat Pekerja Seluruh Indonesia (All-Indonesia Union of Workers – KSPSI), and claims that the workers were not dismissed for organizing a new union, but rather for using company letterhead to distribute information about FSPMI.

Hopefully the press will continue to follow this campaign, which could serve as an interesting case in the dynamics of union competition in Indonesia.  To give the competition some historical context, KSPSI was the only legal trade union under the New Order regime.  Despite being discredited as an organization controlled by the regime and friendly to employers, KSPSI has continued to be one of the most influential trade unions a decade into the reformasi era and the fall of Suharto.  For an in-depth analysis of how KSPSI has managed to retain its influence, I would refer you to Teri Caraway’s article “Explaining the Dominance of Legacy Unions in New Democracies: Comparative Insights From Indonesia.”

Legal Victory For Metalworkers in Bekasi

From the International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF) on a legal victory that gained compensation for 300 Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal Indonesia (FSPMI) workers who have been locked out since October 2008:

IMF affiliate FSPMI won a major court battle on May 14, which is unprecedented in an industrial dispute, involving PT Kymco Lippo Motor Indonesia, located in Bekasi, Indonesia. The Special Regional Court ruled in favour of the workers by declaring the company bankrupt (insolvent) and ordered that the movable and immovable assets including land and building be auctioned of and the workers paid their due compensation from the proceeds of the sales of these assets.

…In October 2008 the company ceased operation and since then more than 300 workers have been locked out and abruptly dismissed from employment. The company’s problem arose due to internal shareholder conflicts that affected the company’s business operation and forced its closure.

The FSPMI, whilst keeping the struggle going on since 2008, also embarked on a series of legal battles. The 300 workers who are members of the FSPMI took turns to keep daily vigils inside the company premises, in order to prevent any possible attempts by the local shareholder or other creditors from removing the movable assets of the company.

Said Iqbal, President of FSPMI, lamented that he has mixed feelings about the victory in the courts. He said that while the FSPMI succeeded in declaring the company insolvent and obtained an order to dispose of the assets of the company, the local share holder might mount an appeal to the higher courts. The FSPMI will fight them at every level, he assured.

FSPMI – Toshiba Dispute Resolved

The Internatioanl Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF) has announced today that the dispute between Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal Indonesia and Toshiba has been resolved.  As a result of the resolution, nearly 700 mostly female workers who have been locked out and dismissed will be unconditionally re-instated.  The workers went on strike April 16th after the company refused to implement a collective bargaining agreement signed by both parties and fired 15 members of the local union leadership.  All 700 workers were subsequently locked-out and dismissed by the company.

Under threat of criminal charges against union leadership, a civil lawsuit against FSPMI for damages, and the potential for the company to bring in replacement contract workers, the union conceded that the 15 union leaders would agree to resign from the company rather than demand re-instatement.  As one local leader described, “The fifteen leaders have resigned from the company and they will be paid adequate compensation. Most important is that the union status in this company is restored. If we had prolonged this struggle the company could have replaced the dismissed workers with contract workers because the Labour Court granted such decision in favour of the company.”  Those same leaders will continue to work with the FSPMI to assist the newly elected local union leadership.

Toshiba Strike Update: FSPMI Back At Bargaining Table

The International Metalworkers Federation (IMF) has posted this update on the strike at Toshiba Indonesia, where 700 workers have been on strike since April 16th.  The company has refused to recognize a collective bargaining agreement previously signed by the management and fired 15 union leaders.  You can donate to the Toshiba workers’ strike fund here.

In other Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal Indonesia (FSPMI) news, 300 workers at PT Kymco Lippo Motor Indonesia have been locked out since October 2008 and unpaid since April 2009 are threatening to auction off company assests in order to pay back wages.  The IMF describes the strange turn of events below:

PT Kymco Lippo Motor Indonesia is a joint-venture between 75 per cent majority shareholder Kwang Yang Motor Company (Taiwan) and 25 per cent shareholder PT Lippo (Indonesia)….However, when a parts supplier filed legal proceedings against the company for failure to settle payments due, PT Lippo discovered that the Taiwanese management was mismanaging the company. The High Court in Jakarta later found the Taiwanese partner guilty of fraud and ordered damages for a sum of US$20 million in favour of PT Lippo and, pending the full settlement of the damages, the court ordered that company President Mr. Su Kou Chang be remanded in prison. Before the court order could be executed, the President of the company fled from Indonesia. 

IMF: Support Locked Out Toshiba Workers

The International Metalworkers Federation is calling on its affiliates to support the strike fund of Toshiba workers in Indonesia who have been locked out since April 16th.

From the IMF statement:

More than 700 members of IMF-affiliate Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal Indonesia (FSPMI) went on strike at PT Toshiba Consumer Products Indonesia on April 16 after the company refused to recognize the collective labour agreement signed both by the union and management. Toshiba Indonesia also fired 15 elected trade union leaders at the plant despite stern recommendations from the Indonesian government to withdraw threats of employment termination.

The workers are demanding that the company honours the collective labour agreement and registers it with the Indonesian government and that all fired workers are reinstated immediately and without sanction.

To support the struggling Toshiba workers, IMF calls on its affiliates to contribute to the Toshiba Indonesia strike fund in support of the 700 locked out workers. The IMF has contributed US$3,000 to the fund and encourages others to donate through the new PayPal function on the IMF website, which can be found here.

Mega’s Political Contract With Labor Unions

From The Jakarta Post:

Presidential candidate Megawati Soekarnoputri and her running mate Prabowo Subianto signed a political contract with representatives of labor unions from across the country…Under the political deal, the presidential ticket agreed to declare the International Labor Day, which falls on May 1, a national holiday if they were elected.  Workers from labor unions SPN, SPSI, FSPMI and Global were among the participants of the event.

May Day Round Up

Here’s a collection of some of the press on May Day demonstrations in Indonesia this year.  If you have any media that we missed, please pass it along and we will include it.

  • English Daily EditorialsThe Jakarta Post added their editorial voice to the mix:  “During the Soeharto years, workers’ protests were almost unheard of because they would be considered communists… It is time to abandon this trauma…We must learn to perceive protests by workers as an expression of their rights and we should get rid of our shy tendencies through greater collective bargaining of wages and working conditions.”  The Jakarta Globe‘s editorial struck a different tone, writing We certainly support labor in their fight, but workers must also look beyond mere matters of wages and strive to seek to build win-win relations with their management.
  • Erwin Schweisshelm: The Jakarta Post also ran this interview with Erwin Schewisshelm of German non-profit Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.  He offered his own assessment of the Indonesian labor movement:  “There is shadow and light. Unions are not well organized, even in the formal sector, and have no political allies. But I see a couple of young but professional unions and union leaders in the metal industry, commerce and financial sector and others that have built strong unions with real negotiating power, but who also know that social partnerships are of mutual benefit (to employers and workers) and that industrial action is only a means of very last resort.”
  • Journalist Demonstrate: Tempo reports journalists demonstrating in Palembang and in Aceh over “increasing welfare, proper wages, and legal protection…the contract-based work system and criminalization against the press.”
  • New Labor Coalition: A new labor coalition was announced on Friday, “named the Labors-Traders-Farmers-Fishermen Coalition (BPPN), consists of various labor unions such as the National Workers Reformation Center (SRPN), the Indonesian Traditional Traders Association (APPSI) and the Fishermen’s House of Democracy (RDN).”  Judging from the write-up in The Jakarta Post, it appears the coalition has been created as a vehicle to lobby for pro-labor policies in the upcoming election.  Whether the ties between these unions extend beyond the election will be interesting to follow.

Update on Grand Aquila Campaign

The International Union of Food Workers (IUF) recently released this update on the on-going campaign by Federasi Serikat Pekerja Mandiri (FSPM) to organize workers at the Hotel Grand Aquila in Bandung, which resulted in 137 workers being fired, with management targeted union leaders.  The union is currently seeking criminal charges based on a 2000 law protecting freedom of association, an article of which “makes it a criminal offense for an employer to punish workers exercising the right to freedom of association.”

As the IUF admits, the law is rarely enforced and, according to last month’s Tempo article on the dispute, FSPM has had previous attempts to bring criminal charges blocked.  The IUF does point to one successful prosecution of the law in February, a case brought by the metalworkers union, Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal (FSPMI), against the Japanese owned electronic component manufacturer PT Kim Jim Pasuruan (KJI).

FSPM members rally outside the gates of the Grand Aquila Hotel Bandung, Indonesia (from IUF Asia)

FSPM members rally outside the gates of the Grand Aquila Hotel Bandung, Indonesia (from IUF Asia)

Two FSPMI Activists Arrested In Union Busting Effort

News from Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal Indonesia and the International Metalworkers’ Federation of union busting efforts at PT Takita, a Japanese owned metal-stamping facility in Cikarang, Bekasi.

FSPMI is calling for the Indonesian President to intervene to ensure the release of shop stewards Evi Risiasari and Yuli Setianingsih, who are in prison as a result of their union activities.  The sisters have been fighting to secure ongoing employment for all 152 employees at PT Takita Manufacturing, where less than half of the workers have permanent jobs…

The FSPMI is holding daily protests with other workers in front of the factory in Cikarang, Bekasi, around 50 kms from Jakarta.  Management of the Japanese company targeted the sisters for their union activities and accused them of falsifying medical leave.  When the sisters denied the accusation, they were threatened with immediate dismissal and forced to sign written statements agreeing to the charges.

The news release also sights the “invisible costs” of doing business in Indonesia as an issue for the union, both as a way to limit full-time employment and as a way to enforce union-busting measures.

As is common practice in the region, corrupt Human Resource management at the company take bribes from labour suppliers to continue hiring contract workers.  FSPMI Secretary Iqbal Said said corruption within the judiciary also made long prison terms for the sisters a very real possibility.