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Jakarta Post

Ball and chain in new wave of labor movement

  • The Jakarta Post

  /   Tue, February 7 2012   /  10:59 am

January’s labor unrest that culminated in the paralyzing of economic activities in the industrial estates of Bekasi, West Java, took many by surprise as it marked the awakening of the labor movement after years of slumber. The Jakarta Post’s Hasyim Widhiarto investigates the issue. Here are the stories:

Labor activist Obon Tabroni, 40, not only knows how to rally crowds with his fiery speeches and provocative words but also how to wreck havoc.

During the rally on Jan. 27 in which tens of thousands of workers in Bekasi regency — home to a large number of production facilities owned by multinational companies — vented their anger over wage issues by occupying the Jakarta–Cikarang toll road and forced many factories to shut down.

Workers, aided by local thugs, pressured other workers in several Bekasi industrial estates to join the protests by threatening the...