The latest edition of Inside Indonesia addresses the issues faced by Indonesian migrant workers. Many of the articles focus on the processes and pressures that lead migrant workers overseas and the difficult working conditions they face. More in line with the focus of this blog, there are a couple articles on efforts to organize around migrant worker issues. Those include Robert Tierney’s article “Oppressed and They Know It,” which describes Indonesian and Vietnamese migrant fishers who “sought the assistance of the Catholic Hope Workers’ Centre and of the Taiwan Association of Victims of Occupational Injuries to organize a protest outside the CLA (Council of Labour Affairs) in Taipei, demanding a massive pay-back of unpaid wages.” Wayne Palmer contributes an interview with Eni Lestari, the head of the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Hong Kong. And Michele Ford and Wayhu Susilo provide a useful overview of the organizational landscape of migrant workers, concluding that
The absence of a credible migrant labour union is a serious issue for Indonesia. The government is (understandably) cynical about a migrant worker movement without migrant workers. And Indonesia’s organised labour movement continues to be slow to act in the area of migrant labour. With very limited room to move, migrant community groups and organisations like SBMI will keep searching for mechanisms that better represent Indonesia’s migrant workers. But for the time being, at least, migrant workers will have to continue relying on NGOs to keep migrant labour issues on the national agenda.