Thursday, July 12, 2007

Garment workers demand salaries

The Jakarta Post
City News - June 11, 2007

TANGERANG: Some 300 workers of garment producer PT Miju went on strike Saturday, accusing the company of failing to pay their May salaries on June 5 as promised.

"We only received part of our April salary, but the company had promised to give us full payment for the May salaries," said one of the striking workers, Hamdan.

He said they had received just 10 percent of their April salaries, which range between Rp 650,000 (US$73.80) and Rp 700,000.

Factory manager Eka Muryati said the company was facing financial problems because of falling export orders.

"We will likely be unable to pay the workers their salaries before June 12 because we have no money now," she said, adding that the company was on the verge of bankruptcy as a result of the losses it has been experiencing. -- JP

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More die at accident plagued building site

City News - June 09, 2007

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

For South Jakarta's One Pacific Place high-rise building project, three is certainly not a lucky number. Three accidents on the construction site have taken three lives and injured several others in just three weeks.

In the latest fatal accident late Thursday night, two men were killed and two others injured when scaffolding on the building collapsed, police said.

The remains of the workers, identified as Tugiyo, 40, and Lamijo, 40, were taken home Friday to Gerobokan, Central Java. Two survivors, Lili, 29 and Kasmijo, 29, went home with minor injuries.

The scaffolding incident was the second mishap to strike the project after a collapsing crane killed a security guard passing near the site three weeks ago. The police have named the crane operator a suspect in the incident.

A third accident occurred at 3 a.m. Friday when the sling of a crane rack broke, forcing several workers riding in the cart to break glass windows to escape from the precariously dangling cabin.

No official reports have been filed over the last accident.

Kebayoran Baru police, who oversee the local area, have questioned witnesses and injured victims from the first two accidents.

"We also questioned project supervisor Sugiyanto to find out who was responsible for the (scaffolding) accident," the head of the subprecinct's criminal unit, First Insp. Heru Ruspiandi, said Friday.

He said police would also summon PT Ascet, the contractor that installed the scaffolding.

If an investigation found the accidents were caused by negligence, suspects could be charged with a maximum of five years imprisonment, he added.

According to Heru, the accident happened when the scaffolding where Tugiyo and Lamijo were working collapsed, smashing another one under it where Lili and Kasmijo were working.

"We found the upper scaffolding smashed at the 8th floor and the other stuck on the 27th floor, where Lili and Kasmijo were still hanging alive," he said.

Heru added that police would recommend the Manpower Agency issue a warning to PT Ascet, the building's manager, to pay serious attention to the safety of the site.

"(Getting contractors to prioritize safety) is hard, unless (a project) is controlled by foreigners," said a supervisor for mechanic and electrical installment at a construction site near the One Pacific Place complex.

The supervisor, who asked to remain anonymous, said he found many locally-backed projects did not regard safety as an important issue.

Indonesian Society of Civil and Structural Engineers chairman Davy Sukamta said that probable cause of the recent incidents could be based in the project's work safety system.

According to Davy, work safety plans should deal with every detail to avoid accidents involving workers and the public.

"When we're talking about incidents involving heavy equipment, it's because of old age and a lack of maintenance," Davy said.

"If the equipment was in normal and proper condition, it would not have collapsed."

Davy said head contractors should be held responsible for every accident that occurred at construction sites.

"They are the ones responsible for choosing subcontractors," he said.

He said the first crane accident at One Pacific Place could have been avoided by either temporarily blocking off traffic or working at night.

"The construction company was already aware of the degree of danger of such heavy work so it should have tried every possible way to minimize it," he said.(01/10)

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Dismissal benefits draft raises doubts, confusion

National News - May 30, 2007

Ridwan Max Sijabat, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A draft government regulation on labor dismissal benefits has been criticized by employers and labor unions alike for overlapping with existing regulations and reducing protection for dismissed workers.

Bambang Purwoko of the privately run Pancasila University told a seminar Tuesday that, from an academic perspective, severance payments regulated by Article 156 of the 2003 Labor Law were part of workers' normative rights and should not be included in social security programs.

"As it has been practiced worldwide, we know that only workers with post-employment benefits will receive (payments) after their employment or dismissal. This benefit is a guarantee and in order to ensure its payment, both workers and employers are required to create a funding system," he said during a seminar on severance payments, labor dismissal benefits and post-employment benefits.

The government prepared the draft labor dismissal benefits regulation to help employers better comply with the harsh labor law.

Employers initially proposed the draft regulation as an alternative solution following workers' opposition to a proposed amendment of the labor law. Though now, employers insist the draft further complicates the already entangled labor dismissal benefits landscape.

Labor unions recently rejected the draft regulation, which they said would impose uncertainty and reduce protection to dismissed workers.

Reliable sources said the draft regulation would require that employers pay 4 percent of their workers' monthly salaries in monthly premiums to finance a labor dismissal benefits program, which is scheduled to be vested to state-owned workers' insurance firm PT Jamsostek in addition to its existing social security programs.

Bambang warned Jamsostek against accepting the proposed program, inferring that it could cause serious financial difficulties for the insurer in the case of massive labor dismissals.

Secretary general of the Indonesian Employers' Association (Apindo), Djimanto, questioned the overlapping laws and social security programs for workers, which, in their implementation, have posed financial difficulties to employers.

"So far, employers have been required to pay post-employment benefits (JHT) under the 1992 Social Security Law, severance and service payments under the labor law and pension benefits under the 1992 Pension Law," he said.

"We have also been confused by the 2004 National Social Security System Law, which has yet to take effect."

Jamsostek president Hotbonar Sinaga said the insurer would be prepared to run the additional program only if employers pooled their funds for the scheme. He said his company would provide labor dismissal benefits in accordance with the amount of funds pooled.

"Or, as an alternative solution, employers could hike their payroll to the post-employment benefit program so that dismissed workers could claim the funds in case of their dismissal," he said.

Questioned on the limited financial capacity of many employers, Bambang called for bureaucratic reform and the elimination of the high-cost economy to allow employers to improve wages and contribute more to social security programs.

"Despite the numerous social security benefits and labor dismissal and service payments, workers have remained less protected because most are paid less and labor costs are pressed to cover the high-cost economy," he said.

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MoU Must be Reviewed, Indonesian Workers in Malaysia Suffering Losses

Monday, 28 May, 2007 | 15:53 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: A number of Indonesian migrant workers activists have asked the government to review the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia signed in Bali in 2006.

The agreement is regarded as being detrimental to Indonesian citizens working as migrant labors.

Miftah, Chairperson of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Association, said that under the MoU, employers were allowed to seize employees’ passports.

This was despite passports being individual identities which cannot be held by anybody except police and immigration officers.

“But the government easily gives permission that passport is submitted to employers or agents in Malaysia,” Miftah told Tempo yesterday (27/5).

The policy that allows employers to hold passports, said Miftah, actually triggered the large number of trafficking cases.

It is not surprising therefore that the rights of Indonesian workers in that country are often violated.

For example, torture, unpaid salary, prohibition to marry at work place and impediments to meet family members.

“All are human rights violations,” said Miftah.
Anis Hidayah, Executive Director of Migrant Care, questioned the deportation policy carried out by Malaysia.

According to Anis, a lot of Indonesian workers are to be deported due to the wrong recruitment system in Indonesia.

“Indonesia should have been able to struggle to remove the deportation option, and fight for legalization. The documents are legalized because the laborers there actually already have jobs.”


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