The Guardian April 12, 2000


Indonesia:
Unionists jailed for supporting a strike

On March 27, two Indonesian workers, 25 year-old Hadis Julianto and 31 
year-old Budiono were sentenced to six months jail for having supported a 
strike. They were tried under KUHP Law No 160, "Provoking labour to take 
criminal action", i.e. a workers' strike.

The two men worked for Gajah Tunggal Company, an Indonesian company with a 
large component of Japanese capital that produces tyres and other 
automotive components under the brand names of GT Radial, Champero, Savero, 
IRC, Nito, GT Miller and GT Super, for export to Germany.

Gajah Tunggal employs 8,000 automotive workers and 4,000 chemical workers.

In January 1999, workers at Gajah Tunggal who were members of the union 
SBSI held a meeting at the union's office in Tangerang, to plan 
negotiations with the employer about working conditions. The workers' 
demands included increased wages, social insurance, and bonuses.

The following month, workers who attended the meeting were questioned 
individually about it by management. The union objected and the company 
sacked 20 SBSI members and plant level leaders of SBSI.

More than 300 members of SBSI held a demonstration at the Manpower 
Minister's Office to demand reinstatement of the sacked workers.

On March 3, 1999 the workers held a meeting at the SBSI Tangerang office to 
organise a strike to reinforce the demand that Gajah Tunggal stop the 
sacking of workers and recognise their right to organise and collectively 
bargain.

The next day a demonstration of workers in front of the company was 
attacked by more than 400 police and military. Seventeen unionists were 
arrested. Most were later released, but five workers were held in 
detention.

The next day the five were charged for violation of criminal laws and then 
released.

On November 24 the five workers were tried in court under Law No 160 KUHP.

The SBSI has protested to the Tangerang Police Office, the Manpower 
Department, and the National Commission of Human Rights.

The union says that the labour law KUHP No 160 contravenes ILO Conventions 
87 and 98 ratified by the Indonesian Government and demands that the law be 
repealed.

The union has also called for an end to military intervention in labour 
disputes and an end to the criminalisation of Labour Rights in Indonesia.

Indonesian workers need our help. Please send your demand for the release 
of the jailed workers and messages of solidarity to:

Lomenik SBSI
Jalan Permuda No 289
Jakarta Timur 13220 Indonesia

Tel: (62) 21 472 1618
Fax: (62) 21 470 7417
Email: sbsi@pacific.net.id

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