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Peaceful Indonesian packaging workers smashed by police

13 July, 2014Indonesian food packaging company PT Indofood CKA contracted Indonesia’s elite riot police “Brimob” to violently attack their own workers on 2 July in response to their peaceful efforts towards collective bargaining through the FSPMI union.

The workers were calling for PT Indofood CKA to pay the new minimum wage level passed by the local Purwakarta government in December 2013, an increase of US$39 per month.

Other confrontations and intimidation had occurred throughout June, but on 2 July the level of brutality was dramatically stepped up. The attached photos illustrate the serious injuries sustained by 20 workers from indiscriminate kicking, hitting, stone throwing, and the firing of tear gas canisters directly at them. Police also damaged and stole parts of the workers’ motorbikes that they use to get to work, and arrested six workers.

IndustriALL’s proud Indonesian trade union affiliate FSPMI is calling for protest letters to be sent to the heads of the Indonesian government and police. 539 of the total 890 PT Indofood CKA workforce are FSPMI members. Use the attached solidarity machine to write to those figures. Condemn the police brutality, demand the release of the six detained workers, demand worker compensation for their damaged motorbikes, and an end to the violence.

IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina wrote to the Indonesian authorities:

This treatment of workers exercising their inalienable right to organize and bargain collectively shows the worse possible image of Indonesia to the world. You must use your influence to rectify this unacceptable situation and heal the wounds made by your police’s violence.

PT Indofood CBP Makmur Tbk, located in the capital Jakarta, produces numerous popular, market leading food products in Indonesia. The packaging workers’ plant is one of four large facilities in South-Central Jakarta, owned by Indonesian state fugitive Liem Swie Liong.

Regardless of the excellent profitability of the company, FSMPI members were forced to strike from 11 March following four months of management refusing to discuss increasing their poverty wages. Now the striking workers have been attacked by the Brimob Brigade that is normally reserved for terrorists.

In December 2013, the employer dismissed 450 workers requesting a change in their employment status from precarious contract to permanent workers.