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Indonesian trade unionists jailed fighting precarious work

4 April, 2013IndustriALL Global Union’s Indonesian affiliate the FPE-SBSI is campaigning for the rights of outsourced contract workers at state-owned mine and energy companies PLN and Pertamina. In retaliation to the campaign workers have been sacked and even jailed.

Employment status issues have arisen for 5,802 members of the Federation of Mining and Energy-Indonesian Prosperity Trade Union (FPE-SBSI) at PLN and Pertamina in five locations. The union argues that as state-owned enterprises the government should set an example to other employers by respecting the labour law at PLN and Pertamina, and employing workers on a permanent basis.

Some of the 5,802 have been employed on rolling contracts for up to 20 years, in clear breach of the national labour legislation. Article 59 of Law 13 (2003) sets out the legal framework for contract labour employment in Indonesia. Short-term contract based employment is only legal when the work of the company has a fixed term, including seasonal work, or work related to testing a new product or activity.

The FPE-SBSI is active in Aceh Province, Riau Province, Sulawesi Province and Maluku, attempting to end the precarious work abuses by management of PLN and Pertamina. On the national level the union is targeting the government minister for state-owned industry, but workers face intransigence at that level also.

In Aceh Tamiang FPE-SBSI workers have been sacked by Pertamina EP Rantau, and local management has colluded with local police to arrest and detain four trade unionists named Rusli, Wahyu, Ismed Rizal and Amir. Sackings have also occurred in Sulawesi and Maluku, and are all interpreted as reprisal sackings for trade union activities.

IndustriALL supports its affiliate’s calls on the government of Indonesia to intervene and bring solution through dialogue with the union.

The FPE-SBSI organized an extra 5000-7000 new members in state-owned companies during the period May to December 2012.