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IndustriALL Indonesia Leadership Forum

11 October, 2012New council to deliver results for IndustriALL in Indonesia.

IndustriALL’s affiliates at a National Leadership Forum in Indonesia agreed to create a new council to implement an ambitious action plan.  The plan will see new levels of cooperation amongst affiliates of IndustriALL Global Union on issues such as organizing and campaigning on national issues.

The decision to create an IndustriALL council in Indonesia could not have come at a more important time for the local unions. In the days preceding the meeting the Jakarta Post ran with the headline “Labour violence may trigger corporate exits."  The article itself argued that labor disputes and unions were tarring the perceptions of foreign investors in the country. Quoting the Indonesian employers association as saying that the estimated investment loss may reach 100 million USD. With this in mind the local unions recognize the need for a strong united voice if they are to set the record straight and win the public argument. That’s why they have decided to take action and build a new force for change under the banner of IndustriALL Global Union.

The real issues behind the labor disputes is not union militancy but the fact that an estimated 35 per cent of Indonesia’s 118 million work force are precarious workers. As employers continually exploit weak legislation to employ as many precarious workers as possible denying many workers the right to the benefits they would receive as permanent employees. The wages and conditions for workers are also low with no national minimum wage and the average salary at just $120 per month. Workers and their unions are left with little alternative but to protest and fight to change the situation.

The unions had already carried out major rallies in several industrial cities to change a planned degree by the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry. Unions have fought for a revision which would make it more difficult for companies to outsource, this however has now been postponed following a failure by business leaders and union to reach a consensus on content.

Said Iqbal Chairman of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI) said, “Unions had already agreed to compromise on some issues in order for the revised decree to be immediately signed to limit outsourcing practices”.

During the meeting IndustriALL’s local affiliates committed to work together in a number of areas including, Organizing and Growth, campaigning for changes to social security, a national minimum wage, and on gender equality issues. The next step for the unions will be a national coordination meeting, which will further develop an action plan and timetable.

Rob Johnston, Executive Director IndustriALL commented, “There was a great energy in the meeting and a serious desire to pursue real change for workers.  This group of leaders are very dynamic and are already planning the next steps within the next week. IndustriALL is set to be a powerful force for change in Indonesia.”

Following the meeting both FSPMI and Lomenik gave updates on the SASK (Trade Union Solidarity Centre of Finland) three year project Organizing and Growth which started earlier this year. To date both unions have carried out mapping in North Sumatra, North Sulawesi, Aceh, Bantam and West Java. Since the project began over 8000 workers have already been organized.