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IndustriALL Indonesian Council intensifies organizing and campaigning for a better future

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25 March, 2014On 10-11 March, 2014 IndustriALL Indonesian Council members gathered at the National Unity Meeting held in Jakarta. 24 union leaders consisting of 9 women and 15 men representing 11 national federations from mining, oil and gas, to manufacturing sectors, discussed labour situations and organizing strategy, the national laws and maternity protection campaign.

The meeting was chaired by Sjaiful D Patombong, IndustriALL Indonesian Council Chair who is also the president of FSP-KEP.  One day before the meeting took place IndustriALL Indonesian Council organized a visit of the union representatives from 11 national federations and IndustriALL South East Asia Office to PT Pindo Deli Paper Mills Karawang - Asia Pulp and Paper - which is one of the largest paper mills in the world.  The national federations leaders jointly signed a letter to the management of Asia Pulp and Paper demanding that it stops union busting, reinstates 17 union leaders, pays the workers fair wages , stops using the police to intimidate the workers  and returns to the negotiation table.

Pindo Deli Paper Workers Union (SPKPD) walked off the jobs on 27 February 2014 in response to the breakdown of collective bargaining negotiation. 

“Although they have worked at this largest paper mill for a long period, Pindo Deli workers work under low wages.  The strike is also supported by agency workers who work side by side with the regular workers at the paper mill. Agency workers in the pulp and paper industry in Indonesia are forced to work under low standards of safety, low wages, and are intimidated when joining the union,”  said Nelson F. Saragih, General Secretary of Indonesian Federation of Pulp and Paper Workers Union (FSP2KI)  

Among the highlights discussed at the Indonesian Unity Meeting, state owned companies contract workers are also at the heart of the concerns. 

“The situation of state owned companies’ contract workers is not better than their fellow workers in the private sector. Although the Indonesian government has ratified the Core ILO Conventions, including the right to organize and collective bargaining, contract workers in the state owned companies still have difficulties joining the trade unions due to threats of dismissals.” Said Nikasi Ginting, General Secretary of Federation of Mining and Energy-Indonesian Prosperity Trade Union (FPE-SBSI) who is also member of IndustriALL Executive Committee. 

See also http://www.industriall-union.org/indonesian-trade-unionists-jailed-fighting-precarious-work

The Indonesian union representatives actively engaged in the discussions and in planning aiming to unionize millions more workers and curb precarious work in the country.   An example is the organizing initiative of FSPMI, which aims at unionizing 400,000 precariously employed workers in the state owned companies in the electronic and electric sector. 

Another issue that was highlighted by the Indonesian women leaders concerns maternity protection.

“Indonesia is the leading country in Asia-Pacific in terms of maternity related laws which protect all women workers in the country; these protections include 3 month maternity leave, full cash benefits paid by the employer, health protection for pregnant employees, employment protection, and breaks for breastfeeding and childcare provisions; in reality precariously employed women workers have not been able to enjoy this right and protection.”  Said Indonesian Women Committee  

The Indonesian Council is soon to launch the national campaign on maternity protection for all women workers in Indonesia.  In the campaigning process, union shop stewards and activists at the plant level will be trained to collect concrete information on the issue as well as educate precariously employed workers about their maternity rights.      

The National Unity Meeting also opened a discussion around the controversial Regulation on Social Conflict Settlement UU 12/2012.  The said regulation allows intervention in industrial relations by military, paramilitary and police.  IndustriALL Indonesian Council members are monitoring closely on the use of the regulation and are in the process of documenting cases and analyses for further discussions at the ILO level.