From Jakarta Post, 11 July 2000
On 10 July the House of Representatives passed a bill concerning new rights to organise unions.
The new bill makes it easier to form a union - now ten workers have the right to form a union, down from the former quota of 25.
The new law grants rights to civil servants to unionise for the first time in Indonesia. Previously all civil servants belonged to a professional association which had no negotiating rights.
The law also specifies union obligations, particularly to be responsible for strikes, as well as defining terms to dissolve a union, which can be performed by union members, company closure, or a court order. Implications of this last condition are unclear as the bill talks about 'endangering security', a vague concept depending on who decides if 'security' is threatened.
The clause about company closure suggests that unemployed workers cannot be union members.
Independent union centre, the National Front for Indonesian Workers' Struggle, rejects the bill demanding that only workers themselves have the right to liquidate a union.
Sony Announces Dismissals
From World Socialist Web Site, 15 July 2000
928 workers at the Citibung site for Sony Electronics of Indonesia have been on strike since 26 April.
Having long complained about management intimidation and no basic labour rights at the factory, a new production line where workers must stand all day was the last straw.
In an attempt to maintain production and discourage the strike's escalation to the factory's remaining 600 workers, Sony is spending a fortune transferring some production to plants outside Indonesia.
The company reckons lost production amounted to US$200 million in the first three weeks of the struggle.
The strikers have occupied key areas in the factory, forcing the closure of ten out of twelve production lines.
On 7 July Sony declared its plan to sack the strikers, a move which needs approval from the Labour Dispute Settlement committee (P4P). However the P4P had previously made clear to the strikers that their industrial action was legal.
But the P4P now says the "standing procedure is a better and healthier work method". It is unclear how it arrived at this dubious conclusion, while the workers predictably accuse committee members of bias and collusion with Sony.
Union negotiators broadened the dispute when they approached the House of Representatives on 13 July to meet a committee concerned with population and welfare, as well as writing to the Manpower Minister to ask him to overturn the P4P's changed decision.