Thursday, September 21, 2006

Anti-union Earthquake Aftershock at Indonesia's Yogyakarta Sheraton Mustika

Posted to the IUF website on 18-Aug-2006




Management at the Yogyakarta Sheraton Mustika – Indonesian-owned but managed under the transnational hotel chain Starwood's Sheraton brand - is blackmailing workers to accept inadequate compensation or forfeit the right to automatic reinstatement when post-earthquake rehabilitation is completed.

The Sheraton Mustika suffered extensive damage and had to be closed following the May 27 earthquake in which four family members of employees were killed, 10 employees’ houses were completely destroyed and 58 were partially damaged.

The union representing workers at the hotel, the SPM Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta, is a member of the IUF-affiliated HRCT federation FSPM. Immediately following the earthquake, an FSPM Crisis Centre was set up by the local unions with support from the federation and other FSPM locals, with meetings and negotiations with managements of the Yogyakarta hotels affected by the earthquake as an urgent priority.

While satisfactory agreements have been negotiated by FSPM unions with other major hotels which were wholly or partially closed following the earthquake, including basic salary, benefits, guaranteed reinstatement and assistance for home rebuilding, Sheraton Mustika management has rejected two of the local union's key demands, offering only 25% of the basic wage and refusing to pay for health insurance. When the union refused these conditions, management withdrew all other proposals and decided to submit the offer to each worker individually - with the proviso that there will be no automatic reinstatement at the reopening of the hotel for those employees that refuse the offer.

The FSPM and the local union are intensifying the campaign for justice for the Yogyakarta Sheraton Mustika workers, including a planned demonstration at the Miss Indonesia Pageant taking place in Jakarta on August 25. The event is sponsored by the hotel's owner, Murvati Soedibyo, who is a member of parliament and owner of the country's leading cosmetics company Mustika Ratu. Additional pressure will be put on Starwood at national and international level should management continue to refuse to conform to the pattern negotiated with other Yogyakarta hotel employers.

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