Union violence in Bekasi deplored
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Business players have strongly deplored labor violence taking place in a factory owned by a Japanese company in Bekasi, West Java, saying the hostile actions would further damage the country’s investment climate.
The Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) chairman Sofjan Wanandi said on Wednesday that the violence committed by the labor union with minimal interruptions from the authorities could reflect continuing legal uncertainty in Indonesia.
According to Sofjan, in the past two months, dozens of foreign firms in Greater Jakarta reported to the association that they often faced intimidation and violent actions from labor unions that demanded their rights. Most of the companies were forced to meet their demands over fears of more violence, he said.
“This problem really disrupts growing confidence over the business climate in Indonesia, which is partly attributable to the investment grade we’ve earned. It’s drawn more foreign investment into the country,” he told The Jakarta Post.
The Indonesian Metal Workers Federation (FSPMI) took hostage around 250 employees of the connector maker PT Japan Solderless Terminal (JST) in Bekasi, West Java, along with eight Japanese management personnel in a protest against the company’s refusal to improve the status of interns into contract-workers, while also upgrading the status of contract workers into permanent workers.
The union released the workers on Wednesday after the company agreed to meet their demands.
In the past months, labor unions have intensified their protests over outsourcing, demanding the government to end the practice, which enabled the companies to lay off their workforce at anytime.
Sofjan said that most of the firms planned to bring the cases to courts, and whenever the legal process failed, they threatened to relocate their plants to other Southeast Asian countries.
Commenting on the federation’s hostage situation, Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan described it as “outrageous” and said it should not happen again. “I hope the law enforcement agencies can take wiser measures to prevent this from happening, and that the people who committed this violation will understand that this kind of action is not conducive for our investment climate,” the former chairman of the Investment Coordianating Board (BKPM) said at the APEC gathering in Vladivostok.