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Indonesian union secures overtime pay

24 October, 2012The union Esa Kertas Nusantara (SPEKN) reached a collective agreement with a paper company on 19 October securing two years of backdated overtime wages worth approximately Rp. 11,000,000 (around USD 1,200) per worker, payable on 31 October 2012.

Nelson F. Saragih of the Indonesia Federation of Pulp and Paper Workers’ Union (FSP2KI) said the agreement benefits both permanent and agency workers.

The union demanded the company, PT Esa Kertas Nusantara, pay the workers overtime wages dated back to 6 years, which the company rejected. When negotiations reached a deadlock the union members voted for strike. At the same time, the union started an online petition campaign through http://www.Change.org

Three days before the workers went on strike, there was a dialogue meeting and both sides reached an agreement.

When the union was organized at the company in 2011, it raised the issue on overtime pay to the company but the management refused to negotiate with the union representatives.  

Since 2006, the company has imposed forced overtime work on the workers without paying them. On average, the workers have worked 9 hours per day for the past six years, but they have only received wages for 8 hours work, which is not in line with Indonesian labour law. 

The company currently employs 400 permanent workers and 800 agency workers. At this paper mill, permanent workers who work on shift as machine operators earn on average Rp. 2,500,000 per month (US$ 260), while agency workers having the same job function earn Rp. 1,400,000 per month (US$145).

SPEKN was established in 2011 with 400 members. The union is an affiliate of the Indonesia Federation of Pulp and Paper Workers Unions (FSP2KI).  

Etin Rodiana, General Secretary of FSP2KI, said this union victory will lead to organizing all contract and agency workers at the mill. Now the union is distributing application forms to all contract and agency workers and after that it will prepare a new collective bargaining round for regular employment.

PT Esa Kertas Nusantara produces printing paper under the brand names Aviator, Byzantium, Infinite Copy, Copy Fit, and Printec. These paper products are distributed to Asia, Australia, India, Africa and USA.