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IndustriALL inspired by Indonesian trade union victory

17 January, 2013IndustriALL is celebrating a significant victory of its Indonesian affiliates in the campaign against outsourcing and low wages.

Pressure on the Indonesian government from the strategic, large-scale trade union campaign of lobbying, mobilization and action resulted in new legislation on outsourcing enacted on 21 November.

The victory restricts outsourcing in Indonesia to five sectors, namely: security, canteen, cleaning services, transport, and mining services.

IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina saluted the Indonesian comrades for their impressive victory:

Once again you show what can be achieved with a well-planned strategy and mobilization. You are an example and inspiration to our whole global union family.

The powerful Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers' Union FSPMI led by president Said Iqbal played a leading role in the campaign. Iqbal is also chairman of trade union confederation KSPI and had led the creation of a new workers' council (MPBI) that unites the three major trade union confederations in Indonesia (KSPI, KSBSI, and KSPSI). This unity has built strength.

An estimated 35 per cent of Indonesia’s 118 million workforce are precarious workers. The new government regulation will change the status of an estimated 16 to 20 million workers from outsourced to permanent employment. Any contract worker employed in the same job for three years or more must now be given permanent employment status.

The second substantial achievement of the trade union campaign, also reported today, is industrial agreements increasing the minimum wage across most of Indonesia’s industrial area. The minimum wage in Jakarta, Bekasi, Bogor, Karawang, Sidoarjo, Mojokerto, Batam have been set for the year 2013, with average 40.2 per cent increase. For example, in Jakarta the minimum wage will be raised from US$157 to US$230. Average increases to the minimum wage in recent years have been on average 20-30 per cent.

Inflation and economic growth are high in Indonesia, but these large increases in minimum wages move forward the union goal of bringing salaries in Indonesia in line with those in China, Malaysia and Thailand by 2016. Indonesia is ranked 16 in the world in terms of GDP, but 69 in terms of wages.

Last month, the three national trade union centres, KSPI, KSBSI and KSPSI mobilized three million workers in massive demonstrations against precarious work. The marchers, who set the bar high for the 7 October World Day for Decent Work, demanded a halt to outsourcing which was reducing workers’ salaries and benefits. Unions in the 3 October manifestations called on the government to restrict outsourcing to the five sectors stated in the legislation.

Upcoming targets for the trade union activists include government implementation of health care insurance in January 2014 and pension protection by 2015.

IndustriALL calls attention now to the importance of full implementation of the new outsourcing legislation.