5 – No guarantee of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index


The ITUC affiliates in Indonesia are the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (CITU) (KSPI/CITU) and the Konfederasi Serikat Buruh Sejahtera Indonesia (KSBSI).

In practice

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Sweeping changes to law undermine labour rights30-11-2021

The Indonesian government introduced an “omnibus” law that strips away workers’ rights and entitlements, environmental protections and paves the way for privatisation of the electricity sector – all this in order to attract foreign investment.
The law, which changes more than a thousand articles in 79 existing statutes, includes provisions that would cut wages, remove important sick-leave provisions and other protections, and undermine job security. The sheer scale, complexity and contents of the law are a violation of Indonesia’s responsibilities under international human-rights law.
The unions were not consulted. The national centres the Confederation of Indonesia Prosperity Trade Union KSBSI and Confederation of Indonesia Trade Unions (KSPI) opposed changes to labour regulations in the law, and the KSPI was set to launch a nationwide strike in October; millions of people were expected to take part.
At the end of November 2021, the Indonesian Constitutional Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional, immediately suspended its most harmful features and gave the government two years to repair the law.

Union leaders dismissed for reporting labour violations at hotel08-07-2021

At the end of July 2021, management at the Marriott Bandung Hotel dismissed 12 members of the Federation of Hotel, Restaurant, Plaza, Apartment, Catering and Tourism Workers’ Free Union (FSPM), including the union president, under the guise of “efficiency”. The real reason was that they had reported labour rights violations at the hotel.
In April 2020, the union and Marriott management negotiated an agreement on temporary wage reductions in exchange for job security protections during the COVID-related temporary closure of the hotel. In January 2021, management broke the agreement by unilaterally imposing further wage cuts, abolishing the weekly day off as well as overtime pay, all violations of labour regulations.
After management refused to respond to the union’s requests to reverse these changes and negotiate alternative measures to help reduce costs, the union reported the violations to the Manpower Department.
On 8 July 2021, the Labour Department met with union members and carried out an inspection of the hotel to verify these violations; three weeks later, management announced the layoffs of 12 union members, including the union president.

Hotel asks workers to deny their union membership 31-05-2021

In May 2021, management at the Fairmont Sanur Bali Hotel, part of the Accor chain, individually contacted workers who had been dismissed in July 2020 to offer them their jobs back, but only on condition that they deny their union membership.
In April 2020, the workers had agreed to a massive 70 per cent pay cut to keep the hotel going during the pandemic. Despite this, management still tried to force 68 workers to sign “voluntary” resignation letters at the end of July 2020. All of them were members of the recently formed Serikat Pekerja Mandiri (SPM) union. The workers refused and two days later received termination letters declaring them redundant.
The letter the workers had to sign to get their jobs back stated, somewhat ironically: “It is true that I work as a Fairmont Hotel employee, hereby declare voluntarily and knowingly without any coercion from any party that I have never joined the membership of Serikat Pekerja Mandiri (SPM). Thus, I made this statement letter in truth.”
Of the workers contacted, only four agreed to sign, while 38 continued to fight for reinstatement on the grounds of unfair dismissal.

Union-busting at PT Schneider Electric in Indonesia10-03-2021

Union leader Mr Zulkarnain was dismissed by PT Schneider Electric on 21 May 2021, with the company claiming that he was incapable of carrying out his work.
In reality, it was the culmination of a blatant strategy to get rid of him.
In May 2020, PT Schneider changed Mr Zulkarnain’s job to one that does not match his skills and work experience. Despite being employed as a metrology engineer for more than 10 years, the company arbitrarily changed his position to supplier quality engineer, with new responsibilities. The company claimed it was for his self-development and that his current workload was too light.
He was forced to accept the position because management said he could either take the offer or leave.
On 10 March 2021, management gave him both a first and second warning letter, alleging underperformance. Dismissal followed in May.
Management told Mr Zulkarnain not to appeal the dismissal through the union and that if he did, he would receive only 50 per cent of the compensation package.
His union, the Federation of Hotel, Restaurant, Plaza, Apartment, Catering and Tourism Workers’ Free Union (FSPM), filed a complaint with the district labour department. However, PT Schneider Electric failed to attend the mediation meetings on 1 and 8 July. Meanwhile, the district labour department said underperformance could not be a reason for dismissal.
The president of FSPM, Riden Hatam Aziz, said that the dismissal of Mr Zulkarnain was clearly union-busting and that it was a real threat for workers to continue to fight for their fundamental rights in the workplace.

Indonesian Omnibus Law sparks major protests 05-10-2020

International unions have criticised the Indonesian government for the passage of Omnibus Labour Law during the COVID-19 pandemic. This law undermines workers’ rights.
Included in the law, which changes more than a thousand articles in 79 existing statutes, are provisions that would cut wages, remove important sick leave provisions and other protections, and undermine job security. The sheer scale, complexity and contents of the law are a violation of Indonesia’s responsibilities under international human rights law.
Heated demonstrations have swept the nation, leading to hundreds of arrests. Clashes between police and protesters beginning on 5 October escalated with tear gas and water cannons used to break up demonstrations. Six protesters were reportedly in critical condition in hospital.
Demonstrations took place in at least 12 places. The strikes were met with violence and arbitrary arrests, with police detaining 183 people in South Sumatra and holding more than 200 protesters in the capital, Jakarta. According to reports, 32 members of the Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers’ Union (FSPMI) were injured by water cannons in Bekasi, and another ten were arrested in Bekasi and Jakarta, as the police accused workers of striking outside of allowed hours.
The law was swiftly passed, without the proper consultations with trade unions, on 5 October. It makes sweeping changes to workers’ entitlements and environmental regulation. The government says it will make Indonesia more attractive to investors. However, a draft version of the bill removed key protections, such as mandatory paid leave for childbirth, increased limits on overtime, and cut severance pay.

Protesting paper workers in Indonesia brutally dispersed by police 12-08-2020

In the early morning of 8 August 2020, the Indonesian police brutally dispersed fifty members of the Federation of Indonesian Pulp and Paper Workers Union (FSP2KI) who were carrying out a blockade in front of PT. Tanjungenim Lestari Pulp and Paper (PTTEL) in Lampung Province.
The workers had been taking action in front of the company gates for sixty-five days, in solidarity with thirty-eight members whose work contracts were discontinued by the outsourcing company PT. Kaliguma Transindo, when PTTEL ended the contract and appointed PT. Kamigumi Indonesia as the new outsourcing company.
They demanded that the new outsourcing company rehire all the workers who were formerly employed by PT. Kaliguma Transindo.
The union reported that 120 police officers assaulted and beat union members. Several women union members were sexually harassed by police officers during the dispersal.

Indonesian trade unionist assaulted 10-08-2020

Khamid Istakhori, general secretary of Federasi SERBUK, was physically assaulted during a peaceful protest against the Omnibus Bill for Job Creation. The assault occurred at the Simpang Tiga PT Tanjung Enim Lestari (PT TEL) on 26 August.
The peaceful workers’ protest organised by KPBI South Sumatera and Federasi SERBUK in Muara Enim, Indonesia, became violent when company management personnel began to assault the workers.
Mr Istakhori’s attacker was part of the PT TEL management team led by Hendri Gunawan, who arrived at the protest site to inquire about the intent of the protest action. The unionists said that the management’s presence flared up emotions and created unnecessary tensions.
SERBUK reported that Istakhori tried to intervene, negotiate with Gunawan and diffuse the tension. However, he was attacked by company personnel. As a result, he suffered bruises and wounds on his face and was hospitalised. Istakhori is currently experiencing dizziness, nausea and headaches.

Dockers’ union activist brutally beaten and later arrested 30-12-2019

On 20 August 2019, Rio Wijaya, a trade unionist from the Indonesian dockers’ union, was brutally attacked by security guards at Hutchison Port’s terminal in Jakarta. 
Rio Wijaya, an active member of the Jakarta International Container Terminal Trade Union (SPJICT), reported to the port security post at around 4:30 p.m. local time, having been told that a security guard, Yaser Arafat, was searching for him. Once inside the building, Mr Wijaya was beaten by security guards. He was later taken to hospital where he was treated for bruising and a number of injuries. The attack on Mr Wijaya by Hutchison security followed unprecedented levels of intimidation and threats against trade unionists in the Port of Jakarta. 
After recovering from his injuries, Mr Wijaya was arrested and detained on 21 November under false allegations of defaming and assaulting the security guards. He was still being held in December 2019. 

Arrest of union secretary at seafood factory 30-09-2019

On 17 May 2019, Reni Desmiria was arrested at her home by police armed with automatic weapons. She was a contract worker at a seafood processing factory in Lampung run by Bumi Menara Internusa (BMI), a major supplier for the global seafood industry. She was also secretary of the SPBMI (BMI Workers’ Union), which was formed in 2012 amid anger over the abusive treatment of workers on casual employment contracts. Women employees were forced to work night shifts for over a year without any shift rotation. Over 1,000 workers are employed in the factory, and most are not permanent and do not have social security or healthcare cover. 
Her arrest was made after the company brought charges, having decided eight years after hiring her that she was guilty of submitting a fake high school certificate in order to get the job. It was perhaps no coincidence, however, that the decision to arrest her was made after she had successfully enrolled many workers in the mandatory government health insurance scheme. Not only did her “crime” require the police to be armed at her arrest, but the company also felt it required the maximum criminal penalty of six years’ imprisonment. On 2 June, BMI management visited Reni Desmiria in prison to inform her that she would be released immediately on condition that she resigned her position at the company (this visit, thus, confirming that her arrest, imprisonment and prosecution were at the behest of BMI). She refused. 
Her trial went ahead, with many trade unionists at the local, national and international level campaigning for her release. In early September, the court sentenced her to four months imprisonment, with time served. She was released within days and reunited with her family. 

Military involvement in the suppression of workers’ disputes and demonstrations 23-01-2018

The army’s role in suppressing labour disputes and demonstrations has been made official. On 23 January 2018, the National Army of Indonesia (TNI) and the Indonesian Police (POLRI) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) entitled “TNI Assistance to the POLRI in order to maintain security and public order”. The MoU states that the scope of cooperation includes handling protests, labour strikes, unrest, social conflict, securing citizens and/or government activities that have conflict potential, and other situations that need assistance.

The Confederation of Indonesia Trade Union (KSPI) has called on President Joko Widodo to annul the MoU, noting that military involvement has often infringed and violated civil rights including workers’ and trade union rights. The new memorandum, it states, has the potential to infringe on citizens’ rights to express their thoughts and opinions and on the workers’ right to strike. It points to several examples where the TNI has been involved in protests such as the workers’ rally on the World Day for Decent Work on 7 October 2017, a protest about wages in front of the Jakarta City Hall (10 November 2017), and the dispersal and beating of student protesters by the TNI in Makassar (15 December 2017).

Major obstacles to unionisation in EPZs17-01-2018

Trade unions encounter numerous obstacles in their efforts to organise workers in EPZs. The biggest obstacle is dealing with fear among workers. Dismissals of trade unionists are very frequent and staff turnover in EPZs is very high. Most EPZs prevent access to the premises by implementing strict security measures. Furthermore, EPZs are considered “national vital objects” where companies can request police and military assistance in the event of industrial action. Consequently, workers feel intimidated and do not dare to exercise their rights, including the right to strike.

Striking workers attacked by security forces27-12-2017

The plant-level union at PT Indomarco went on strike in front of their workplace to protest against the unfair dismissal of ten workers, including three of their union leaders (the chair, deputy and secretary of the plant-level union). During the demonstration three participants were attacked by security forces hired by the company. The victims, Sapriyanto, Tias angga Dinata and Johanes Imanuel Hutahuruk, suffered minor wounds on the abdomen, back and knees and bruises on their faces and hands. The Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI/CITU) reported the case to the police, but there was no investigation into the facts reported.

Discrimination in employment against trade union members12-12-2017

The Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI/CITU) has denounced widespread discriminatory measures against workers who join a union, including dismissals, transfers and lack of promotion. In December 2017, the representative of the plant union in PT Astra Group was dismissed for refusing to negotiate further on a collective agreement that had been concluded a month earlier between the union and the management.

Leaders of the Bank Danamon Trade Union arrested06-12-2017

On 6 December 2017 Abdoel Mudjib and Muhamad Afif, respectively chair and secretary of the Danamon Bank trade union, were arrested for posting a video on social media allegedly containing humiliating and libellous speech and causing hatred. The video was recorded during Mudjib’s speech during a demonstration held on 9 March 2017 to protest against the summary dismissal of workers and the blocking of the e-mail box of the Danamon trade union board.

Strikers replaced at PT Alpen Food Industries27-11-2017

On 27 November 2017, 644 workers of PT Alpen Food Industries (producer of ice cream AICE) went on strike to demand that the employer give them permanent employment contracts. The strike was planned for fifteen days but instead of opening dialogue with the workers, the employer replaced them by new agency workers.

Union leader fined and sentenced21-11-2017

On 21 November 2017 the Indonesian Prosecutor’s Office requested the East Jakarta District Court to impose a sentence of two years imprisonment on Edward Marpaung, general secretary of the Confederation of Indonesia Prosperity Trade Union (KSBSI), and the payment of a fine of 100,000,000 Indonesian Rupiah (about USD 7,345).
Mr Marpaung was sentenced for exercising his right to free speech. Charges were brought against him under Law No. 11 on Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE) and Article 311 of the Criminal Code on defamation, following a complaint filed by Gusmawati Anwar, on 5 December 2014. His allegations concerned comments Mr Marpaung made on the KSBSI Facebook site about Muchtar Pakpahan, a client of Mr Anwar.

Union leader dismissed at Coca-Cola Amatil21-11-2017

Union leader Lutfi Ariyanto was dismissed from the Coca-Cola Amatil bottling plant in Bawen (Central Java) on 21 November 2017. He was chair of the Serikat Buruh Mandiri Coca-Cola (SBMCC) union at the plant and his dismissal came after persistent anti-union tactics by Amatil.

Back in 2015, Coca-Cola Amatil workers in the Jakarta - Cibitung area (West Java) faced harassment and disciplinary action when they formed their independent union, the SBCCD, which was legally registered in May 2015. The union’s chairman Atra Narwanto was suspended on 30 June, and finally dismissed in October 2015.

Workers at the Bawen bottling plant began to organise their union in November 2016, and it was formally registered on 9 February 2017. It held its first general assembly on 18 February and elected Lutfi Ariyanto as chairman. On 21 February management told Lutfi he would be transferred from the Bawen plant to a sales office in Madiun, 170 kilometres away. Lutfi rejected the transfer as a violation of his trade union rights, as it would prevent him from representing his union members. All attempts to find a solution that would maintain his rights were rejected by local management and by the company, Australia-based Coca-Cola Amatil, leading to his formal termination in November 2017.

The company has consistently refused to reinstate either of the union leaders or enter into collective bargaining with the union.

In the meantime, Coca-Cola Amatil retains Suharto era collective bargaining agreements that are effectively disciplinary codes to control and manage the workforce. They date from an era when questioning the actions of the worker organisations appointed and sustained by the military was legally tantamount to sedition.

Strike actions dispersed with disproportionate use of force05-11-2017

On 5 November 2017, workers of PT Mekar Armada Jaya went on strike to demand the reintegration of workers who had been summarily dismissed. They were forcibly dispersed by the police. The employer claimed that the union had omitted to give advance notice for their strike as the law requires. However, it later appeared that the chair of the union had issued an letter on 27 October informing of the upcoming strike. The strike was therefore legal.
On 10 November 2017, the Jakarta Workers Coalition tried to organise a strike in front of the Jakarta Governor’s office, but protesters were met by police forces who used tear gas to disperse the peaceful demonstration.

Mine dismisses thousands for going on strike31-10-2017

The mining operator PT Freeport Indonesia laid off over 4,200 workers for taking strike action at its Grasberg mine in Papua between May and August 2017.

The dispute began on 1 May when over 10,000 mineworkers from the Chemical, Energy and Mines Workers Union (CEMWU) went on strike in protest at a furlough introduced by the company, putting workers on long-term leave at short notice. PT Freeport was in conflict with the Indonesian government over the long-term future of the mine, and was scaling back production to exert tactical pressure. The furlough was paid, but workers lost out on many benefits, including overtime and, crucially, housing, and workers feared they would not get their jobs back.

The company declared the strike illegal, even though the union followed due process in initiating strike action, and announced that any worker absent for five days would lose their job. Freeport claimed the mine was of national strategic importance and therefore all protests were banned. As time went on, the dismissals – or “voluntary resignations” as the company called them – multiplied.

The CEMWU wrote repeatedly to the company asking for negotiations, and to the government asking for intervention. It noted that the furlough was introduced unilaterally, with no consultation, and that workers were arbitrarily selected for the lay-offs. Those who lost their jobs and housing were also denied access to company hospitals and schools, and reportedly several people denied medical care died as a result.

The dispute attracted international support, including from IndustriALL global union, which launched a campaign. Finally, at the end of October 2017, Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights ruled that Freeport’s actions were a violation of human rights. It recommended the reinstatement of the workers, and compensation for their losses.

Massive dismissal of workers for legitimate strike action30-08-2017

More than 4,200 workers of the PT Freeport, a gold and copper mining operation in West Paua, were sacked for striking, while some 300 workers at PT Smelting in Gresik were dismissed after striking in January 2017. After the summary dismissals, the company forcibly evicted the workers from their company-provided housing and denied them access to the company hospital and school. Many of the dismissed workers and their families now live in tents or in the offices of the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI/CITU) and the Konfederasi Serikat Buruh Sejahtera Indonesia (KSBSI). PT Smelting has repeatedly refused to pay the workers’ salary and benefits and rejected all attempts to find an amicable solution with KSPI and KSBSI.

FKUI leaders arrested20-06-2017

On 20 June 2017, Mr Jhon Heri Panjaitan and Herianto Sitinjak, respectively chair and secretary of the Federation of Construction, Informal and General Workers Union (FKUI), were arrested and detained by the Riau Regional Police on charges of “incitement and unpleasant deeds accompanied by threat” under sections 335 and 160 of the Criminal Code. In fact, the two leaders were detained due to their trade union activities questioning the management policy of PT Dian Anggara Persad on the employment status of workers, who are mainly contractual workers, wages and freedom of association.

KSBSI leader subject to constant interrogation by the police17-05-2017

In December 2014 Mr Eduard Marpaung, general secretary of the Confederation of Indonesia Prosperity Trade Union (KSBSI), was charged under Article 27(3) of Law no. 11 on Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE) and Article 311 of the Criminal Code which foresees a sentence of up to six years imprisonment and a fine of IDR 1 billion for anyone found guilty of transmitting electronic information or documents that intimidate or defame another person. The charges were laid out following a complaint filed by Gusmawati Anwar on 5 December 2014, allegedly concerning comments Mr Marpaung made on the KSBSI Facebook page about Muchtar Pakpahan, a client of Mr Anwar.
Since then Mr Marpaung has been summoned for interrogation on a systematic basis. The interrogations often coincide with mass demonstrations organised by the KSBSI and include detailed questions about Mr Marpaung’s trade union activity. Currently, he is obliged to register twice a week with the Prosecutor’s Office in East Jakarta and is prohibited from leaving the city, limiting his ability to effectively represent workers.
Despite frequent interrogations over more than two years, Mr Marpaung still has not received a statement of alleged facts in relation to the charges against him. This systematic and arbitrary interrogation by the police constitutes a serious attack on the freedom of movement of Mr Marpaung and severely undermines freedom of association.

Food workers dismissed for demanding their rights31-01-2017

Champ Resto Indonesia, one of Indonesia’s leading fast food chains, dismissed 83 workers in July 2016 for taking part in a protest demonstration over health insurance. The events leading up to the demonstration were particularly tragic. In November 2015, a Champ Resto worker’s newborn baby died when the child was refused essential hospital care. It was then that the workers learned they were not registered in the government health insurance programme for employees and their families. The father of the newborn child, who had worked at Champ Resto for fourteen years, was fired for taking five days off while the family mourned.

The company took no steps to join the programme following this tragic event. Finally, in July 2016 members of the national hotel and restaurant workers’ federation, FSPM, held a demonstration in Bandung to demand that Champ Resto register all employees for family medical coverage in accordance with government regulations. The company immediately dismissed 83 workers. The union protested, management consistently refused to reinstate the workers and in response to continued union protests further pressured union members. Fourteen workers active in the union were transferred from Bandung to Jakarta – a distance of over 100 kilometres and three hours’ travel. Without accommodation and separated from their families, 12 of the 14 resigned.

By early 2017 there was still no change. The union continued to hold weekly demonstrations to demand reinstatement of the dismissed workers, full respect for trade union rights and the inclusion of all company workers and their families in the government health insurance scheme

Contract agency fires workers for joining a union – but port management then hires them permanently15-06-2016

In May 2016, contract company West Point Security Agency fired eight workers for joining the Port Tarahan Lampung Union (SPTT TL), affiliated to the FSP2KI. A further four workers were transferred to different positions. The company supplies Tanjungenim Lestari with security workers in the Lampung port. According to West Point management, security workers had no right to join the SPTT TL, a union which organises both port and security workers.

There was good news, however. The FSP2KI launched a rally on 15 June 2016, calling for the reinstatement of the dismissed security workers. Following a meeting with the management of Kaliguma, which manages the Lampung port (for Tanjungenim Lestari), all 12 workers were reinstated and are now employed directly by PT. Kaliguma.

Workers’ right to protest limited in face of investor pressure18-02-2016

On 18 February 2016, the Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, announced restrictions on the right of workers in Batam city to hold rallies, with the police chief warning that they would even use guns if they judged it necessary. A new regulation was to be introduced that would only allow rallies from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., with locations limited to three venues, namely the governor’s office, the Batam city legislative council building and the office of the Batam mayor. “Demonstrations can no longer be held at factories,” Luhut said during his visit to Batam on 18 February.

The move came amid fears that workers’ protests to protect their rights were scaring off investors in the export processing zone. Instead of addressing workers’ grievances and ensuring the respect of their rights, the government chose to restrict their protests. During a visit to Batam in June 2015, President Joko Widodo had ordered the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) to investigate alleged foreign involvement in labour rallies that had reportedly caused investors to leave the Batam Industrial Zone.

It was also announced in February 2016 that the police would increase their efforts to prevent workers from holding demonstrations that disturb production.

National Police chief General Badrodin Haiti, who accompanied the Minister on his visit, said the police had six levels of public demonstration response. At the highest level, he said, the police were justified in using guns to deal with rallies considered dangerous. “Rallies also cannot be conducted in front of a factory entrance, as that can disturb traffic. We will act if that happens,” Badrodin warned.

Assaulted and injured workers have to face legal action 07-02-2016

Twenty-three workers – including the general secretary of the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) Muhammad Rusdi, a student and two Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH) officials – have been named suspects in relation to the 30 October 2015 demonstration. This collective action took place against Government Regulation Number 78/2015 on wages and ended up with police attacking workers. Despite being the ones assaulted and injured, the demonstrators are now qualified as provocateurs by the Metro Jaya regional police and for such reason are facing criminal charge under Article 216 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) for allegedly disobeying police orders during the rally. This raises big questions about why the workers, who were the ones that suffered aggression, having their command vehicle damaged and fired on with tear gas and then being injured and arrested, are the ones named suspects while no action has been taken against the police who committed the assaults. LBH Jakarta public defender Maruli Tua believes that the naming of the activists is a form of criminalisation by police adding itself to the long list of earlier cases that befell various leaders of civil society organisations in order to discourage freedom of speech.

American Phillips Seafood Company in Lampung dismisses unfairly and creates fake trade union to obstruct free trade unionism 01-01-2016

US-based company Phillips Seafood – with a chain of seafood restaurants on the East Coast, outlets in airports and casinos and which markets processed seafood products – has its largest centre of production in Lampung, Indonesia. During 2015 the Company showed anti-union behaviour on more than an occasion: 205 workers were fired with a text message in order to outsource most of the jobs to isolated private homes working for half the price of regular workers. Out of the 205 fired workers, only 50 were allowed to come back – as casual workers contracted on a daily basis – on condition that they were not trade union members.

In order to further discourage and impede trade unionism inside the enterprise, Phillips Seafood created a fake union and then threatened and harassed workers to join it if they wanted to be called to work. Phillips Seafood then conducted a “union vote”, instructing workers to choose between the real union and the newly created management union. Two local labour department officers were brought in to make the proceedings look official. Deliberately misleading workers into believing the verification was legitimate, while making threats about job security, management forced workers to vote on November 25 and 26. A final vote was planned for December 16 and 17, but with the support of the Federation of Lampung Workers’ Unions (FSBL), workers refused to vote. The provincial labour department confirmed that the verification was unlawful because a private company cannot conduct a union vote without oversight. The role of the two labour department officials, and that of Phillips Seafood in the arrangement, is now under investigation.

Police violence against protesting workers 31-12-2015

Police arrested three protestors during a blockade at Pamatak airport on the Anambas Islands. Dozens of demonstrators were injured in the protest organised by the Anambas branch of the Federation of Construction, Informal and General Workers (FKUI). The airport is owned by US gas giant ConocoPhillips which exerts a lot of influence on the island. A long-running dispute over wages and job security came to a head when ConocoPhillips contractor PT Supraco terminated the contracts of 17 local workers in early 2015, leading to escalating protests. There had been problems between the union and management before – the FKUI had written to the ConocoPhilips in 2014 complaining that the company had refused to meet the union’s delegation and had denied the FKUI on-site access to company employees.

Violence and arrests at minimum wage demonstration30-11-2015

When three national trade union centres – the Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (Konfederasi Serikat Pekerja Indonesia - KSPI), the Confederation of All Indonesian Workers’ Unions (Konfederasi Serikat Pekerja Seluruh Indonesia - KSPSI) and the Confederation of Indonesia Prosperity Trade Unions (Konfederasi Serikat Buruh Sejahtera Indonesia KSBSI) - organised a second round of peaceful demonstrations against the minimum wage reforms from 24 to 27 November; the demonstrations were declared illegal by the government. The Ministry of Labour, employers and the police threatened sanctions and penalties.

When the demonstrations went ahead, the police used tear gas and water cannons against the demonstrators. A number of trade union activists were detained but later released by the police.

Harassment and intimidation of union leaders30-10-2015

Further to the 30 October arrests during the minimum wage protests, several trade union leaders found themselves the target of harassment and intimidation. Muhamad Rusdi, General Secretary of the Indonesian trade union confederation Konfederasi Serikat Pekerja Indonesia (KSPI), was summonsed for questioning. Shortly after the demonstrations, the branch office of KPBI (Komite Politik Buruh Indonesia) in North Jakarta was occupied by police, the central KSPI Office and all branch offices of the metalworkers’ federation Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal Indonesia (FSPMI) were guarded by police and other authorities, and a trade unionist in East Java was beaten by police. Several union leaders also reported that their private cars had been damaged.

Workers injured and arrested at minimum wage protest30-10-2015

Demonstrators were arrested on 30 October 2015 during a rally by some 20,000 people in Jakarta in front of the presidential palace to protest against the government’s decision to impose a new minimum wage system in the country.

The new system gives the government the power to unilaterally set the minimum wage, excluding trade unions from the process. Instead of basing the minimum wage on the actual cost of living as in the past, the new system uses an inflation/GDP formula which will not properly reflect the real costs of living. As the protest against the new measures mounted, the government agreed to meet with the union leaders for discussions. However, the government refused to repeal the new law, and so the union leaders returned to the demonstration. The police were ordered to move in and break up the demonstration. Water cannons and tear gas were used to disperse the crowds. Some of the workers who refused to abandon the peaceful demonstration were dragged into police cars and beaten. Two activists from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) – Tigor Gempita Hutapea and Obed Sakti Luitnan – also suffered from serious injuries at the hands of the police when they tried to record the incident on their smart phones.

A reported 30 protestors were arrested. They were held for questioning and released the following day.

Anti-union repression at container port28-07-2015

On 28 July 2015, two workers at Jacarta International Container Terminal (JICT) were fired and another four were moved to other ports for their vocal criticism of a deal with Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH). Australian-owned Hutchison holds 51 per cent of the shares in JICT, and in 2014 its licence to operate the port for another 20 years was renewed. This was done without tender, without permission from the Minister of Transport (which is legally required) and at a suspiciously low cost. The union was not involved in the discussion leading up to the decision and the potential impact on workers was ignored. The union became even more concerned after Hutchison Ports Australia made about 100 workers out of a total workforce of 224 redundant and introduced automation. Many of the forced redundancy notices were sent to union leaders and activists.

The workers dismissed from JICT were reinstated after their union went on strike. Problems persisted, however. The Indonesian Port Company became increasingly repressive in response to the JICT union’s continued objections to the deal, deploying 350 security officers to intimidate and threaten workers. More than 100 workers active in the union were handed warning letters.

Union Busting at Honda30-04-2015

Five leaders of the Serikat Buruh Kerakyatan PT. Honda Prospect Motors union (SERBUK HPM) were suspended by the Honda Prospect Motors in Karawang, Indonesia, in April, just a few days after the union had been created at a meeting of more than 3,000 workers. A union already existed at the plant but it was run by the company. Membership was compulsory and the fee was deducted automatically from the workers’ pay each month. The company union never encouraged workers to fight for higher wages, or against dismissals.

By 12 April 2015, the Honda workers had collected membership forms from 2500 workers to form an independent union. The company responded by announcing that membership forms were prohibited from being distributed, and threatened that workers joining would be fired, or reported to the police.

On the 14 April 2015 SERBUK HPM submitted their registration documents to the Krawang District Department of Manpower. The department acknowledged that all requirements for registration had been met but refused to give the union a registration number. The following day it issued a rejection letter, on the grounds that the employees listed were still members of the company union. (They had already issued letters of resignation).

Following the attempt at registration, one of the union leaders, Kerly, was summoned by one of the Honda managers. He was interrogated and threatened with dismissal. During the interrogation, the manager forced open Kerly’s desk drawer and confiscated the union registration forms, including the membership list. Management then began to target workers on this list.

Five workers, the leadership of the new union, were all suspended. These were Kerly, who had worked at Honda for 16 years; Yohanes Masang, who had worked at Honda for 14 years; Lutfi Firmansyah, who had worked at Honda for 16 years; Uut, who had worked at Honda for 12 years; Rizky, who had worked at Honda for 15 years.

They were suspended for so-called “major offences”, yet no details of those offences were ever provided. Another five workers involved in the union were transferred to other departments.

SERBUK later found out that their registration was rejected on orders from a “special team” established by Cellica Nurrachadiana, the acting regent of Karawang district. SERBUK repeatedly requested a meeting with Cellica, but she refused to meet with them.

Unfair dismissals and union busting at Philips 09-04-2015

When metal workers at P.T. Philips Industries in Batam announced they were forming a union, they quickly found themselves out of work. The Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal Indonesia (FSPMI) union sent official notification of the formation of a branch union to management on 9 April 2015. The following day management called in rank and file members of the union one by one and put them under strong pressure to sign a letter of termination of their employment. Both permanent and contract workers were involved. The workers, supported by union officials, refused to accept their dismissals and were forcefully evicted from company grounds. They were not even given a chance to take their personal belongings from their lockers. In total, 83 FSPMI union officers and members were dismissed.

The union tried to negotiate with management on a number of occasions to discuss the reinstatement of those unfairly dismissed. However, the management insisted they were simply cutting back on staff to make efficiency savings.

Finally 600 workers resorted to strike action in support of their colleagues, beginning on 3 June. Mediation proved slow at first and strikers reported harassment. They were chased off the company compound by security guards and water hoses were used. Management tried to deny there was any intimidation, but videos showed the workers were telling the truth. Management claims that they needed to make staff cut backs were also undermined when job vacancies were posted.

The strike was called off on 19 June when management agreed to resume collective bargaining and pay workers their salaries for the period of the strike. Reports emerged in July, however, that management was attempting to set up a yellow union, handing out FSMPI union membership cancellation slips together with sign-up forms for its own union.

Accor hotel attacks union members16-12-2013

Workers employed at Ibis Tamarin in Jakarta established a union in August 2012 and subsequently requested recognition and collective bargaining negotiations.

In July and November 2013, the union made demands to management concerning unpaid overtime, unfair distribution of service charges and the conversion of contract workers’ jobs to permanent positions. The company responded with discriminatory tactics towards union members. Contract workers were told their contracts would not be renewed because of their union membership on 26 and 28 November.

In December, workers in the housekeeping department were told to resign from the union. Two union members were coerced to sign false statements stating they were forced to join the union and regretted this. The union president remains unjustly suspended from work.

Violence against Indonesian workers during the 2013 national strike04-11-2013

The Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI/CITU) reported violence by paramilitary organisations against workers participating in the peaceful strike to demand an increase in the minimum wage, implementation of social security and against precarious work at industrial areas including UIP, Delta Silicon and Hyundai in Cikarang, Bekasi, West Java on 31 October 2013.

An investigation team from ITUC-AP came to the Bekasi Industrial area on 4 November 2013 to gather information about the police officers in Bekasi District who were deployed around the site during the national strike but did not take any measures to stop the attack, letting the acts of violence continue. Twenty-eight workers (seventeen are KSPI/CITU members) were injured by the thugs armed with machetes, knives and iron rods, and seventeen workers were severely injured and admitted to the hospital. The team visited the hospital where three workers remain in a critical condition as a result of the physical attack.

Police intervention in demonstrations16-08-2013

Mr. Suprapto, one of the leaders of the Konfederasi Serikat Pekerja Indonesia (KSPI) at plant level, was stopped from holding a speech when the police intervened and used rubber bullets against workers who were demonstrating against outsourcing and low wages. Mr. Suprapto, Mr. Yoni Mulyono, and Mr. Gagan Setiawan were hospitalised as a result of the attack.

Trade unionists being charged for carrying out legitimate activities16-08-2013

Workers protesting in front of a factory were attacked by a group of unknown persons. When the company security guards did not react, Eddy Irawadi, a union leader, ordered the closure of the production line in order to avoid further attacks. The employer filed a complaint against the union because of the work stoppage.

Violation of collective agreement31-03-2013

In March 2013, security workers at PT. Tanjungenim Lestari Pulp and Paper (PT TEL) went on strike when PT. Tangkas decided to outsource operations of PT TEL in violation of a valid collective agreement.

Anti-union discrimination30-11-2012

In November 2012, management of the paper company PT Kertas Leces in Probolinggo terminated the contract of Djody Soegiharto, coordinator of the department of organising and recruitment at the Federation of Indonesian Pulp and Paper (FSP2KI). In February 2012, management accused him of defamation when he displayed banners at the factory premises demanding the payment of pending salaries and benefits.

Workers win court battle, successfully conclude agreements31-12-2010

Workers secured better conditions in terms of wage increases and recognition of their unions in different sectors during the year. On May 14, the International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF) affiliate, Federation of Indonesian Metalworkers Union (FSPMI), won a major court battle involving the bankruptcy filing of PT Kymco Lippo Motor Indonesia. The Special Regional Court ruled that the company’s moveable and immoveable assets, including land and buildings, be auctioned off to pay wages owed to the workers.

In the garment sector, after a three-year campaign, the Indonesian garment factory PT Mulia Knitting Factory signed an agreement with SBGTS union affiliated with the Gabungan Serikat Buruh Indonesia (GSBI - Federation of Indonesian Trade Unions) in May. The agreement recognises SBGTS as the representative of their members at PT Mulia and provides compensation for five former employees who were dismissed in 2007 as a result of their union membership.

And in January, the International Union of Food (IUF) affiliate, Kirin Miwon Foods Workers Union (SPKMF), requested to start negotiations with Kirin Miwon Foods (Kirin). Kirin initially refused to negotiate with SPKMF and refused to provide SPKMF with information relevant to the bargaining process. However, in late May SPKMF successfully concluded negotiations with substantial increases in wages and benefits.

Contract labour increasing01-02-2010

On 23 December, Indonesian Prosperous Labour Union (KSBSI) Chairman Rekson Silaban said outsourcing and the contract system had sharply reduced the number of permanent workers in the country from 67% of the total formal labour workforce in 2005 to only 35% this year, citing reports from the World Bank and the ILO. Rekson said outsourcing would continue to hamper industrial relations if no legal solutions were made to address the problem. On 1 February, 500 contract workers from PT Jakarta International Container Terminal (JICT) staged a protest before the main gate of Tanjung Priok Port, North Jakarta, to demand permanent employee status. “We have been working at the firm’s main division for 15 to 20 years, but we have yet to be made permanent employees”, said Sutimanto, Chairman of the JICT contract worker association. The labour law bans a company from using contract workers at its main division, Sutimanto added. Contract workers earn IDR 1.3 million (USD 140) a month, 10% of the wages earned by a permanent worker.

Legal strikes difficult in practice30-11-2009

Since the procedures for mediating a labour dispute are both excessively cumbersome and time consuming, they are often ignored by union leaders. Hence the government declares most strikes as illegal job actions, which results in mass dismissals of union officials and workers as well as the arrest and imprisonment of union leaders. Strikes have also been entirely prohibited in the public sector, in essential services, and at enterprises that serve the public interest.

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