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Victory in Indonesia – release of 26 union activists

28 November, 2016After a two-hour trial on on 22 November, 26 trade union activists were released after having been charged with illegal participation in protest actions a year earlier.

In the verdict, the High court judge said that workers acted according to the law and that their action was carried out in a peaceful and non-destructive manner, and was aimed at achievement of fairness in national policies.

In November 2015, unions took to the streets of Jakarta to protest against the proposed minimum wage regulation. After demonstrators were met with violence, 26 labour activists, including the general secretary of KSPI and six members from IndustriALL affiliate the Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers Union (FSPMI) members were arrested and put on trial for organization of the protest rally and public disorder.

While trial was held, Indonesian Confederation of United Workers together with Jakarta Legal Aid Institute and a number of organizations and unions including FSPMI, organized a protest rally outside the court in support of the activists. The rally was a continuation of the unions' struggle for minimum wage in Jakarta. The demonstration started in front of Jakarta Governor's office, continued to the Constitutional court, the Supreme court ending at the High court of Jakarta, where the trial took place.

Among other matters the Indonesian unions demand:

  • Withdraw the government regulation on determination of minimum wage with PP 78/2015 formula setting double standards for wage calculation;
  • Raise the minimum wage in 2017 by 15-20 per cent;
  • Urge the Supreme Court to take an immediate decision and review the government regulation PP 78/2015 on minimum wage;

The unions welcome the court's decision after the long struggle. A joint statement says:
“Winning of the case will serve the energy to continue our struggle against the new government regulation on low wage.”
IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches said,

“Union rights are human rights, they should not be criminalized and must be duely respected in every country. We convey our best congratulations to our Indonesian brothers and sisters for their victory and liberation of union leaders, we will continue following developments over minimum wage in Jakarta and will provide all possible related support to Indonesian unions fighting for workers’ rights. This victory is especially symbolic for all unions that fight to make the minimum wage in every country, a living wage.”