Adidas Union Organiser Arrested
From PERBUPAS press releases
Police arrested Ngadinah Binti Abu Mawardi, secretary of the Footwear Workers Association (PERBUPAS), on 20 April for “committing displeasing acts”.
Ngadinah was arrested when her union organised a strike at PT Panarub, a contractor for Adidas, in September 2000. Workers wanted the company to pay overtime and other allowances as required under government regulations and to introduce unpaid menstrual leave.
After an international campaign Ngadinah was finally released on 23 May criticising negative attitudes of government, military, police, and company towards workers.
Legal Changes Provoke Protest
From The Jakarta Post, 12, 13 June 2001
More than 3,000 workers marched on the parliament building in Bandung, capital of West Java on 12 June. They were protesting about a proposed change to the labour law which would allow employers to scrap severance pay to workers who resign or retire.
Meanwhile embattled President Wahid refused to accept a the Federation of All Indonesian Workers Union (SFPSI) demand for the existing law to remain. Workers in several cities in Sumatra and Java demonstrated against the legal change over several days.
Over 4,000 workers (many women) in Jakarta also demonstrated outside Wahid’s presidential palace, criticising Indonesia’s labour laws for favouring employers.
Earlier in the month, the Minister of Manpower and Transmigration postponed implementing the legal change because of a series of large demonstrations against it, indicating this is really the only language the authorities understand.
Workers React to New Labour Laws
From Associated Press, 7 June 2001
About 5,000 workers threw stones at police in Indonesia’s second largest city Surabaya while demanding that the government revoke new labor laws. Security forces responded with a water cannon.
About 200 police officers, backed up by hundreds of soldiers, blocked the demonstrators from entering the local governor’s office.
The protesters called on the government to revoke a newly passed employment law relating to severance pay, which they say discriminates against workers but benefits factory owners.
Indonesia has been hit by a wave of labour disputes recently as unions flex their muscles after decades of repression under former president Suharto, who was forced from office in 1998.