The Guardian has more on the $1 million settlement victory for workers at a Nike factory in Indonesia, including reactions from Bambang Wirahyoso of Serikat Pekerja Nasional, Oxfam Australia, and Jim Keady of Education for Justice.
“This has the potential to send shockwaves through the Indonesian labour movement,” he [Wirahyoso ] said, adding that the victory had prepared the union to take on the fight for any workers who had been forced to work overtime without pay. “We have only just begun.”
Other multinationals operating in Indonesia may be the next targets. Foreign companies, including Nike, Puma and Adidas, often use local factories to supply their products, where high turnover requirements and short time frames can mean that good labour practices are not always guaranteed, according to Oxfam Australia.
The union claims it is standard practice for Indonesian factory employees to work seven days a week without overtime or proper benefits.
“There are more than 100,000 factory workers in Serang, and those who are most prone to overwork are labourers for branded merchandise, since they have to achieve certain targets,” Wirahyoso said.
Serikat Pekerja Nasional Jawa Tengah (National Labor Union of Central Java) is calling for a national commemoration of Marsinah, a female union activist who was murdered in 1993 in East Java. SPN-Jawa Tengah is calling for Marsinah to be considered a national hero and the date of her death, May 8th, to become a day to recognize the struggle of female workers in Indonesia. In the Tempo article, the Secretary of SPN-Jawa Tengah goes on to discuss the importance of Marsinah as a symbol for workers and a unifying symbol for a scattered labor movement.
With May Day fast approaching, we can expect to see a lot of news coverage of May Day demonstrations. Already there are a number of articles on the preparations being made for demonstrations around the country. These include a Republika article on Serikat Pekerja Nasional’s (SPN) claim that it will mobilize 25,000 workers on May 6th, a Tempo article on preparations by Aliansi Buruh Menggugat (ABM) to mobilize workers in East Java, and an Okezone article on Kongres Aliansi Serikat Buruh Indonesia’s (KASBI) plans for demos across the country.
If you have news on May Day demonstrations, pass them along and they will be included in a round-up of this year’s May Day demos.