Can Recent Protests Translate Into Organizational Power?

In a recent Jakarta Globe article, Rekson Silaban of KSBSI discussed whether the increase in street protests by workers can be translated into organizational progress for labor unions.

Despite the recent victories for labor rights, the ballooning number of labor organizations in the country and their susceptibility to being politicized are worrying activists.

Rekson Silaban, chairman of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Welfare Unions (KSBSI), said on Wednesday that existing regulations made it relatively easy to form national-scale labor unions.

“During protests and demonstrations you can find all sorts of unions, and sometimes the lines between the real ones and those that aren’t get blurry,” Rekson said in a discussion on labor issues organized by the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club.

According to the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration, there are now six national confederations for workers, 91 national-level unions and more than 45,000 regional and sectoral unions registered. Rekson said that to be registered as a confederation, an organization only needed to come up with an address for its headquarters and at least three offices in the regions.

“There will be no verification by the local offices or by the ministry, whether the organization really has 50,000 members like it said, and suddenly this organization has representation at the national level,” he said.

Rekson said he wanted more stringent requirements akin to those that apply to political parties. “The [easy] regulations lead to fragmented unions, and having too many unions may destroy the [labor] movement,” he said.

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One response to “Can Recent Protests Translate Into Organizational Power?

  1. Lol, as if Rekson really wants a verification. KSBSI floundered in the last verification because KSBSI does not sustain itself from membership dues but from foreign aid.

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