Workers who have been denied the right to organize a union at the Grand Aquila Hotel in Bandung received positive news recently when the ILO issued a statement in their favor. The decision from the ILO stated that there is evidence that the hotel violated the workers’ right to freedom of association when it unilaterally fired 137 after they informed the hotel that they had formed a union. The ILO gave the Indonesian government as series of recommendations urging it to take the necessary steps, including potentially issuing sanctions, in order to reinstate the workers and give them the freedom to form a union.
Following the decision,workers held a demonstration in which they tied themselves to the gates of the hotel, demanding that management follow the recommendations of the ILO and respect their right to form a union. The workers are attempting to form a union affiliated with Federasi Serikat Pekerja Mandiri, a hotel workers union affiliated with the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF).
It will certainly be interesting to see how this decision from the ILO impacts the campaign, which began in September 2008, particularly whether workers can capitalize on this symbolic victory and turn it into real leverage with either the government or the employer. For background on this organizing campaign, see our previous posts here.