“December 11 union rally for union rights and recognition at Accor’s Ibis Tamarin Jakarta” (IUF)
The International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) has an online campaign to end anti-union practices at Accor’s Ibis Tamerin Hotel in Jakarta, where workers are represented by Federasi Serikat Pekerja Mandiri (FSPM). You can read about the issue here and send a message here.
A summary, from the IUF:
In July this year and again in November, the union, affiliated to the national hotel and restaurant federation FSPM, submitted to management a list of demands, including issues around unpaid overtime, unfair distribution of the service charge on which employees rely, the conversion of contract workers’ jobs to permanent positions and the start of long-delayed collective bargaining negotiations.
The management response was swift and brutal. Contract workers who joined the union have been harassed and pressured to resign their union membership or been effectively dismissed through non-renewal of their contracts. Union members in the housekeeping department are harassed and victimized by their immediate superiors, told to resign their union membership, and in December two union members were pressured to sign false statements dictated by management stating that they were forced to join the union and now regret their actions. The union president remains unjustly suspended from work.
Today’s New York Times has a fascinating front-page article on Li and Fung, a apparel industry sourcing and logistics firm that is described by the AFL-CIO’s international affairs director is a key player in the industry’s race-to-the-bottom labor practices. The article mentions Li & Fung’s connection to at least one campaign in Indonesia, a union busting case at the PT Mulia factory in Jakarta, which I had previously posted about.
Here is the article’s explanation of Li & Fung’s link to Indonesia:
In 2007, more than a dozen garment workers at the PT. Mulia Knitting Factory in Jakarta, Indonesia, who were making clothes for Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger were fired, allegedly for trying to form a union — the kind of dismissal that violates Indonesian law. Li & Fung investigated and did not find any violations of workers’ rights, a spokeswoman said.
But labor advocates found that Li & Fung did not interview any of the dismissed workers and conducted all employee interviews in the factory, often with managers present. In explaining why it would not sever ties to the factory or push for reforms, Tommy Hilfiger cited the Li & Fung findings.
“Li & Fung claims to be monitoring factory conditions, but they don’t publicly release their investigation reports or even the full list of the factories they use, so it’s impossible for independent organizations to assess the effectiveness of their monitoring,” said Tim Connor, a former labor rights advocacy coordinator for Oxfam.
A recent column by Anthony Sutton in The Jakarta Globe highlights the unsettling juxtaposition between the celebrated visits to Jakarta by the world’s most famous football clubs and the otherwise rampant dysfunction of the Indonesian football industry. Among other issues in the Indonesian game, there are serious labor issues involving player salaries. From the column:
The clowns were here before the English Premier League traveling circus arrived and will be here long after it is gone. The English clubs’ legacy is YouTube videos of crazy, crazy nights at Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno Stadium and that’s about it.
Indonesian players will continue to not get paid. I wonder if the likes of Olivier Giroud, Raheem Sterling or Fernando Torres spared a thought about them? I wonder if they even knew Indonesian footballers were ritually going months without receiving their salaries and the world’s governing body, FIFA, was happy to turn a blind eye.
I wonder if anyone touched upon Diego Mendieta, the Paraguayan footballer left to die a lonely death in a Solo hospital last year because nobody felt the need to honor contracts and pay him the money he was owed that could have at least seen him return home to spend his final days with family.
From United Students Against Sweatshops: Go here for more information on the PT Kizone campaign.
While I will need a lot more evidence before I am convinced of the connection, The Wall Street Journal wonders aloud whether labor unrest like this week’s strike wave will play a role in the presidential race.
The current protests are supported by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, the party of Ms. Sukarnoputri, who is seen as a contender in the 2014 presidential election. The eldest daughter of founding President Sukarno, Ms. Sukarnoputri attempted to make labor issues a part of her 2009 presidential bid; she could fare better this time in a time of perceived rising social inequality
Indonesia said on Thursday it would improve worker pay and restrict the use of temporary contracts in the face of a vow by union leaders, who staged a national strike this week, to press ahead with industrial action.
Chief Economics Minister Hatta Rajasa said the government would draft a regulation to increase worker pay and would quickly implement rules to improve conditions for workers not on fixed contracts. He gave no details of the pay increase.