Monthly Archives: March 2010

Landfill Scavengers, Or Pemulung, Profiled In Guardian

11-year-old Nung looks for plastics at a dump outside Jakarta. Photograph: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

In parts of Indonesia, it is estimated that scavengers can reduce the total daily waste generated by up to one-third. They work informally for minimal income, in deplorable conditions on the fringe of Indonesian society,  while contributing part of the solution to one of its biggest challenges.  (The Guardian Weekly, “Indonesia’s Landfill Workers)


Muhaimin Iskandar On Union Busting

The head of the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration (Menakertrans), Muhaimin Iskandar, said in a meeting earlier this month that he would be stepping up efforts to stop union busting by working with the police, prosecutors, and courts, according to a report on  The statement came in a meeting with Federasi Serikat Pekerja Mandiri (FSPM), a union representing hotel, restaurant, and service workers, that is conducting its own campaign against union busting at Grand Aquila Hotel in Bandung, West Java.  Muhaimin Iskandar went on to emphasize the need for unions to take a bipartite approach, rather than attempting to force employers to negotiate.

Support Dole Workers In The Philippines

Labor Notes, by way of the International Labor Rights Forum, is reporting on union busting efforts by Dole Food in the Philippines.  You can send a message to Dole Foods in support of workers organizing in the Philippines by going here.

Dole Food is trying to crush Filipino pineapple workers’ right to organize. Beyond facing stagnant real wages, high quotas, and up to a 72-hour work week with no overtime pay, workers and their families are exposed to toxic chemicals and not given proper safety equipment.  When individual Dole workers spoke out about chemical safety hazards, the company used its political weight to get them arrested for defamation. Even holding down their jobs has become more difficult for full-time workers, as up to three-quarters of the workforce is being replaced by contractors.  After workers voted to unionize in 2006, Dole Philippines managers refused to meet with union representatives or members. Instead, the International Labor Rights Forum reports, they began meeting with local military and paramilitary thugs to crush the union by force, propaganda, and intimidation.  Threats against unionists carry real weight in the country: four Filipino union leaders were murdered in 2008, one was abducted and tortured, and four others were arrested.

Potential Nationwide Strike From Doemstic Workers

From The Jakarta Post:

Activists are calling on all household workers to stop working and march in the streets during the nationwide strike called for May 1-3 to push for the formulation and passage of the domestic worker law.

This protest [is against] the government and the House of Representatives for not responding to our demands on the law,” Lita Anggraini, Domestic Workers Advocacy Network (Jala PRT) coordinator, said during a press conference on the domestic workers law on Monday in Jakarta.

The activist made four demands: The ratification of the 1990 Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families; Revision of the 2004 Regulation on Migrant Worker Placement; the formulation and passage of the Domestic Workers Protection Law; and the government’s vote for the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers

Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (IMWU) Marks International Women’s Day

China Worker recently published an article on the Hong Kong-based Indonesian Migrant Workers’ Union (IMWU) protests for International Women’s Day.  The IMWU was forced to mark International Women’s Day on Sunday, a day early, because that is the only day in the week that most domestic workers receive time off.  The IMWU planned to march on the Indonesian consulate, their demands including a black-listing of recruiting agencies that violate workers’ rights, concerns over underpayment and excessive hours, and an increase in the minimum wage that will include migrant workers.