Here’s a link to an article I have written for Inside Indonesia on the organizing campaign at the Hotel Grand Aquila in Bandung by Federasi Serikat Pekerja Mandiri.
If you don’t have time to read the full article, here’s the main takeaway:
For some, the long-running campaign at the Grand Aquila has exemplified Indonesian workers’ post-reformasi freedoms. On paper Indonesia has some of the most worker-friendly labour laws in Southeast Asia. But employers continue to resist labour unions and the government appears unwilling to protect workers from violations of their labour rights.
As the labour dispute at the Grand Aquila enters its third year, it illustrates many of the hopes and concerns of Indonesian labour activists. The Grand Aquila workers’ dynamic campaign of street protests, government lobbying and international pressure is indeed an example of what is possible in post-reformasi Indonesia. Yet, when a campaign as vibrant as that of the Grand Aquila workers can make little progress and employers continue to intimidate labour activists with relative impunity, it’s clear that the bar remains high for Indonesian workers who desire a voice in the workplace.
You can find past posts on the Grand Aquila campaign here.
Workers at the French-based retail chain Carrefor are threatening to strike over the arbitrary firing of one employee. This from The Jakarta Post:
Thousands employees of retail giant Carrefour, represented by the Congress Alliance of Indonesian Labor Unions (KASBI), say they will go on strike from Aug. 26 to 28, four days before Idul Fitri. Carrefour employees throughout Greater Jakarta will stage a rally at the company’s head office in Lebak Bulus, South Jakarta.
The thread has been triggered by the dismissal of an employee, Pakpin Sinaga, who was also a member of the Carrefour Indonesia Workers’ Union (SPCI), SPCI chief Imam Setiawan told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. Imam said the incident began when Pakpin, working in the bazaar division, bought a soft drink with a gift coupon at his workplace in East Jakarta and won first prize, a high-tech water purification device.
“The company interrogated Pakpin, accusing him of cheating by finding out which product contained the first prize.” Feeling wronged, Pakpin asked KASBI for an advocate, Imam said. “However, the company fired him without explanation.”
The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) is calling on international support for the State Railway Workers’ Union of Thailand (SRUT) after a recent court decision that will allow the firing of seven union leaders for their participation in a safety-related work-action back in 2009. You can learn more about the campaign and send a message in support of the workers.
From the ITF:
The ITF has responded with ‘shock and disbelief’ to today’s Thai Labour Court decision to allow the dismissal of seven leaders of the SRUT railway workers’ trade union for their part in a safety-related industrial action two years ago, and the imposition of a THB15 million fine against them.
The union officials are being punished by the management of the State Railways of Thailand (SRT) for their part in industrial action taken in October 2009 to publicise the deplorable safety failings on the network which led to two derailments and one fatal accident in four days that month. The accident killed seven and injured many others. The driver had had one rest day in the previous 30 days. The driver’s ‘deadman’s handle’ system was not working, and, unbelievably, only 20 per cent of locomotives were even equipped with such a fundamental piece of equipment, according to the union.