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IndustriALL pulp and paper network in South East Asia honours Ikhsan and fights forward

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31 August, 2017Representing tens of thousands of members, pulp and paper sector trade union affiliates of IndustriALL in South East Asia met in Jakarta, Indonesia on 24-25 August 2017. 

The meeting was chaired by Alex Millar of CFMEU Australia, and brought together unions from Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

The meeting conducted a poignant ceremony with the family of brother Ikhsan Prajarani who was killed in a road accident in February. Trade union leaders delivered a solidarity payment to the family and the pulp and paper network paid its respects. A video of the ceremony can be downloaded here.

FSP2KI leadership responded: “We cannot describe in words how valuable the award is that IndustriALL provides for brother Ikhsan's family. Our sincere thanks.”

There was a very significant session of the meeting dedicated to experience sharing with the Japanese affiliate KAMIPA RENGO. Union representatives from around the region pressed the Japanese colleagues for detailed information on best practices in bargaining, organizing, health and safety, and building power.

Addressing the environmental debate, CFMEU’s Alex Millar, Chair of the network said:

“Our industry is renewable. Our industry can benefit the environment if things are done right. It is the government’s responsibility to make sure that companies do that.”

All unions shared their struggles and successes and held debated how to build power at common employers.

In 2016 the network identified two multinational employers where a number of the affiliates have significant membership, Asia Pulp and Paper, APP, and Kimberly Clark. Now the network has done a more in-depth mapping of employment conditions and union challenges at the two companies.

The meeting analysed recent developments and trends at the two companies, and committed to continued coordination. An on-going trade union conflict was discussed at Kimberly Clark in Australia where the company is destroying good industrial relations that were built up over decades.

IndustriALL Global Union Assistant General Secretary, Kemal Özkan, said:

“This meeting has addressed a large range of issues with great hunger for solidarity. I was particularly impressed with your discussion on collective bargaining. We are becoming mature as a network.  We will continue our work on KC and APP.  You are a full part of the global campaigns and the family of pulp and paper workers around the world.”

The network adopted two solidarity resolutions, one calling on Malaysian Newsprint Industrial to pay full redundancy compensation to workers following its closure. The second calls on the Indonesian government to properly consult the IndustriALL affiliate FSP2KI in enacting new environmental legislation.

IndustriALL Research and Industry Officer, Tom Grinter, said:

“This region is so important in the global pulp and paper sector. Precarious work is growing fast. The union struggles are tough but the industry will continue to grow here and so will our affiliates. In Indonesia our affiliates have tens of thousands of members in this sector but overall density is two percent, of the 260,000 direct employees and 1.1 million indirect. We will combat the challenges with international solidarity.”