Monthly Archives: July 2011

Garuda Pilots End Strike Early

The Garuda pilots’ strike over difference in pay between foreign and domestic pilots ended early on Thursday, causing few delays or cancellations.  The workers ended the strike after meetings with management and government officials and, much like the Freeport strike earlier this month, the Garuda workers’ strike ended with the promise of more negotiations, but not a specific deal.

From The Jakarta Globe:

Hundreds of Garuda Indonesia pilots cut short their planned 24-hour strike on Thursday after a minister stepped in and got both sides to agree to return to the negotiating table.   “On behalf of APG, at 12:58 p.m., I declare to all members that the flight strike is over,” said Stephanus Geraldus, chairman of the striking Garuda Pilots Union (APG), which represents two-thirds of the airlines’ 897 pilots.

The strike, which started at midnight on Wednesday, was called off following a meeting between the union, Garuda management and State Enterprises Minister Mustafa Abubakar at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.  Mustafa, who arrived at the airport for a surprise inspection, said the disputing parties had agreed that the strike should stop. “We all should be glad that the strike is over,” Mustafa said, without providing further details.

Garuda’s president director, Emirsyah Satar, said they had agreed that the issues in contention would be further discussed.  “We will meet again during Ramadan to discuss the issues along with the minister and, hopefully, we will settle everything before Idul Fitri,” he said.

Stephanus said later that the strike had been halted at the behest of Mustafa.  “I don’t think the agreement to end this would have happened had the minister not come,” he said. The pilots had been so angry with Garuda’s management, he added, that they had been reluctant to meet with them.

While AFP reported accusations by the union of intimidation and strike-breaking tactics by management:

Senior union official Jose Rizal earlier told AFP the company’s strike-breaking tactics included picking pilots up from their homes and forcing them onto planes.  Union members responded to the “intimidation” by broadening the strike, which began at midnight Wednesday, from outbound Jakarta flights to all domestic and international routes across the archipelago.

“We decided for a full (nationwide) strike today at around 5:00 am (2200 GMT Wednesday) when we found out three of our pilots had been intimidated and forced to fly by the management,” Rizal said. This could risk the safety of the flights as we’re not trained for that kind of situation.”



Garuda Pilots Prepare For Strike

The Garuda Pilots Association (APG) has announced that it will go ahead with plans to strike on Thursday after negotiations collapsed between workers and the company earlier this week.

The issue driving the dispute is the differences in the way the company handles domestic and foreign pilots.  These include pay differences between domestic and foreign pilots and which pilots the company will be hiring as it goes forward with plans to nearly double the size of the fleet and hire 500 new pilots.     According to the APG, foreign pilots earn $7,200 a month, plus housing, Indonesian pilots earn $5,000.  According to Tempo, other airlines, such as Air Asia, pay equal wages to foreign and domestic pilots.

Quotes from government official have been ostensibly neutral, but not necessarily encouraging for the striking workers.  The Transportation Minstry said it would not interfere because it is an industrial issue, but suggested the pilots not strike, while the Minister of State Enterprises suggested Garuda should temporarily hire Merpati pilots to replace the striking pilots.

The strike is supported by other unions representing workers at Garuda, Garuda Employees’ Union (Sekarga) and the Garuda Indonesia Cabin Crew Association (IAKGI).

Finally, some articles have questioned how many of the pilots will go off the job, such as the Jakarta Globe article, which suggested only pilots in Jakarta would walk off the job, and the Jakarta Post article quotes someone from a group of workers opposed to striking, called Pilots Concerned with Garuda.  As always, its a bit difficult to see through the posturing on both sides of the negotiations, but we will see what happens when Thursday comes.

AP Reports Abuses At Nike Contractors In Indonesia

"In this photo taken May 26, 2011, workers leave a factory that make Converse shoes, in Gunung Putri, West java, Indonesia. Workers making Converse sneakers in Indonesia said supervisors throw shoes at them, slap them in the face and call them dogs and pigs. Nike, the brand's owner, admits that such abuses have occurred among the contractors that make its hip high-tops but claims there was little it could do to stop it." (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

This from an AP report last week that put Nike back in the news regarding an old story, widespread workplace abuses in the operations of their overseas contractors, including the Taiwanese-operated Pou Chen factory in Sukabumi that produces Converse products:

Workers making Converse sneakers in Indonesia say supervisors throw shoes at them, slap them in the face and call them dogs and pigs. Nike, the brand’s owner, admits that such abuse has occurred among the contractors that make its hip high-tops but says there was little it could do to stop it.

Dozens of workers interviewed by The Associated Press and a document released by Nike show that the footwear and athletic apparel giant has far to go to meet the standards it set for itself a decade ago to end its reliance on sweatshop labor.

Interestingly, The Jakarta Globe followed up with the leader of the union at the Converse plant in Sukabumi, who denied that such abuses were occurring at the factory and if there were irregularities, the union had addressed them.

Freeport Union Leaders Reinstated

While Freeport workers won’t begin negotiations on pay and benefits until later this week, workers have won recognition of union leadership, reinstatement of fired workers, and back pay.  This update from the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM) explains:

In the negotiated end to the strike that included the union, managers, and local government representatives, Freeport-McMoRan agreed to reinstate the six [fired union leaders] with backpay for duration of the strike and to also pay the 10,000 strikers their wages over the eight days.

Grasberg Managing Director Armando Mahler also agreed to fully recognise the democratically-elected leaders of PT Freeport, and to commence full negotiations toward a new collective agreement on 20 July.

Freeport Workers Back To Work

While there have been few details to emerge regarding negotiations, it has been reported that a deal was reached that would soon send the Freeport workers back to work.  It is important to note that company has yet to negotiate pay and benefits with the union, but has agreed to re-open negotiations on July 20th.

This from the BBC:

Indonesian unions have reached a deal with bosses of US-owned firm Freeport to end a strike at one of the world’s biggest copper mines, reports say.  Thousands of workers, who are paid on average $1.50 (£0.94) an hour, walked out a week ago demanding better wages.

Unions say the strike paralysed operations at Papua province’s Grasberg facility, where gold is also mined.  The firm had played down the impact of the strike, saying it had stockpiled enough material to fulfil its orders.

Union negotiators said their workers would return to the mine on Wednesday.  “We agreed because the management have agreed to all of the union’s demands,” union official Virgo Solossa told Reuters.

Sinta Sirait, vice-president of the firm’s Indonesian arm, told the Associated Press that the strike would end on Wednesday, and that Freeport and the union would open talks for a new contract on 20 July.

E-Action: Support Shipyard Workers In The Philippines

Through the Building and Wood Workers International online campaign, you can send a message in support of workers at Hanjin Heavy Industries in Construction in Subic.

From the BWI:

“HHIC-Philippines Incorporated has been notorious for reported violations on occupational health and safety standards that have resulted in numerous documented deaths along with major and minor accidents. Hanjin did not budge even after the Senate Labor Committee looked into the cases of deaths made public by workers, relatives and concerned citizens. It even denied some of the deaths in its report to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) claiming only 19 of the 29 incidents. The BWI cannot tolerate this,” said Ambet Yuson, general secretary of the BWI. The International is launching a solidarity campaign to support workers at the Hanjin Shipyard Facility in Subic in the Philippines to abide by international labour standards and ensure trade union rights for the workers at Subic. Take two minutes to sign the campaign hereunder. ACT NOW!

Strike Impacts Production At Freeport’s Grasberg Mine

“When I left the situation was like an abandoned war zone,” said the mechanic, who said he was in the last batch of about 2,000 workers to leave the open pit mine. “It was dead quiet, no operations, no cars, were moving… All engines were shut down, operation tools and the power have all been turned off,” he said (Reuters)

Demo Karyawan Freeport Foto: Koran SI (Okezone)

The strike by workers at the Freeport’s Grasberg mine in Papua has continued into its third day.  On Tuesday thousands of workers marched 60 kilometers from Tembagapura to Timika, and Wednesday saw thousands of workers protesting outside company headquarters and another 300 workers blocking a main route to the mine.  Throughout, Freeport has been quick to assure the public that shipments will not be disrupted and at least one anonymous “non-striking” Freeport employee has claimed the size of the strike has been “exaggerated.”  Yet, workers’ claims that production at the Grasberg mine has stopped appears to have been confirmed by a local government official.  This, from Reuters:

“The production has completely stopped,” said Dionisius Mameyau, the head of the government’s local manpower office. “Freeport management admitted this in a meeting with the Freeport Indonesia union, which still hasn’t resulted in any deal.”

The strike is also raising concerns in the business press about its potential effect on the global copper supply chain.  Again, from Reuters:

Three of the world’s biggest copper mines face strike-related disruptions this week, early signs of a possible resurgence in labor unrest that could strain an already fragile supply pipeline. In Indonesia, a strike for higher pay has paralyzed output at Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold’s (FCX.N) giant Grasberg mine, workers said on Wednesday. In Chile, some workers at state-owned Codelco are planning a one-day walk-out, while unions in Peru called off a two-day strike at the last moment. Coupled with diminishing output at older mines and a severe cold snap that has curtailed production at other mines in Chile, which produces a third of the world’s copper, news of growing dissent is helping propel prices back toward the record above $10,000 a tonne hit in February.