Workers praying outside the building

Workers praying outside the building

Queue to the rest room

Indonesian workers strike against Philips union busting


600 workers at PT. Philips Industries Batam, members of IndustriALL Global Union through the Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers' Union (FSPMI), went on strike on 3 June in protest at the union busting and unfair dismissals by company management.

The workers demand that Philips management:

  • reinstates unfairly dismissed union officials and members of FSPMI dismissed as part of the union busting campaign started by the management;
  • starts respecting Indonesia’s labour rights and the International Labour Organization’s Freedom of Association Convention;
  • respects the union PUK PT Philips and restarts negotiations.

So far the management refuses to satisfy workers’ demands and applies tactics of intimidation and bad treatment, blocking the strikers from access to any facility including toilets, the canteen or the use of the mosque for prayers.

According to FSPMI, the union PUK PT Philips Batam was registered on 18 March 2015. Batam is an Indonesian municipality granted the status of a Free Trade Zone, notorious for its increasingly hostile attitude towards trade unions.

On 9 April 2015 the PT. Philips Industries Batam management received an official notification of registration of the union. The very next day the management called in rank and file members of the union one by one and put them under strong pressure to sign a letter of termination of their employment. They were both permanent and contractual workers.

The workers, supported by the union officials, refused to accept their dismissals and were forcefully evicted from company grounds. They were not even given a chance to take their personal belongings from their lockers. In total, 83 FSPMI union officers and members were dismissed by PT. Philips Industries Batam in April this year.

The union has tried to negotiate with management on a number of occasions to discuss reinstatement of those unfairly dismissed. However, every time the management referred to work efficiency as the reason for the sackings.

The dismissed workers have received substantial support from their colleagues. An additional 519 workers out of about 1900 employees became new union members by the end of April.

Having used all other possible measures and failed to convince the management to reinstate the workers, the union announced a strike at the end of May and notified the management.

The strike continues to date. IndustriALL has contacted the local and global leadership of the company seeking a fair solution of the conflict. Addressing the CEO of Philips in the Netherlands, as well as the Senior director of PT. Philips Industries Batam in Indonesia Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL General Secretary urged them “to immediately reinstate the unfairly dismissed union officers and members, to stop harassing workers and to respect their right to join the union of their choice.”

Raina also called on PT. Philips Industries Batam “to resume the collective bargaining negotiations with the FSPMI to achieve a fair and just resolution of this conflict as well as create a constructive relationship between labour and management.”