Indonesia - Unfair dismissals and union busting at Philips

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.

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