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Indonesian unions demand factory shutdown

6 April, 2020GARTEKS and SPN, IndustriALL Indonesian affiliates in the textile sector, are fighting to keep workers’ wages and are demanding that factories are shut down, as the COVID19 pandemic begins to impact production in Indonesia.

By the end of last week, 430 garment workers had been dismissed, another 1,000 workers were asked to go on paid leave and 800 workers were asked to go on 50 per cent paid leave for a fortnight.

“As the garment sector is struggling to get raw materials and sales have dropped, companies now say layoffs are inevitable. But plant-level leadership of GARTEKS managed to negotiate for 100 per cent or 50 per cent paid leave.

“The government’s economic stimulus package must help workers to put food on the table, electricity fees and income tax should be waived. Local labour offices should carry out supervision to avoid arbitrary actions from the company to dismiss or furlough workers,”

says Trisnur Priyanto, GARTEKS general secretary.

IndustriALL regional secretary Annie Adviento welcomes the Rp 405 trillion (US$24.6 billion) budget announced by Indonesian government, but urges the Jokowi administration to strengthen the social protection system so that it acts as social safety net for all workers, particularly contract workers with the least protection.

Yet, some workers fear for their safety in the workplace.

Workers at PT Coats Rejo Indonesia are worried about their health and safety after it was announced that a worker had contracted Covid-19. SPN is demanding that the company temporarily stops operations in order to avoid spreading the virus among workers.

“Plant-level SPN leaders has met with management several times to raise concerns. Management’s response is that as the Indonesian government has not announced a lockdown, they have to wait for instructions from Coats’ headquarters,”

says Iwan Kusmawan, chairperson of IndustriALL Indonesia council.

IndustriALL has written to Coats’ headquarters, raising concern.

“It is of paramount concern that workers are protected. Through our Asia Pacific Coats trade union network we continue to call on Coats to convene a social dialogue meeting. Now, more than ever, communication and transparency are needed,”

says Christina Hajagos-Clausen, IndustriALL textile and garment director.