The Jakarta Post
Garment factory PT Yee Woo, operating in the Tunas Industrial Zone in Batam, Riau Islands province, has reportedly discontinued operations and abandoned 305 of its employees.
Workers were shocked to find that the factory, which mostly produced Adidas-brand apparel, had been left behind by its management.
PT Yee Woo working unit coordinator from the Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers Unions (FSPMI), Heriyanto, told The Jakarta Post on Friday that the company, which had operated since 2005, was abandoned by its management without prior notice.
The workers, who have been waiting for salaries from Jan. 7, were stunned and could not believe the incident.
'We came to work on Monday and were shocked to find the condition of the factory, which was like just it had been robbed. Most of the production equipment, including laptop computers in the management office, was missing. We inspected the mess where seven of the expatriates were staying, but they were gone as well,' said Heriyanto.
According to him, after finding the plant in such a condition, workers' representatives went to the industrial zone management office. After discussion, it turned out that the owner of the plant had left Batam island and his whereabouts remained unclear.
'The industrial zone management told us we could sell the remaining equipment to pay for our salaries and severance pay. This is very unexpected, whereas in fact our salaries were always paid on time earlier,' said Heriyanto.
He added that the company produced a number of sportswear items for the renowned Adidas brand for export. The company is owned by a Chinese investor.
'The management has the responsibility to pay Rp 12 billion [US$953,346] for workers' salaries and severance pay, while the value of items and production machines is only around Rp 5 billion, based on our estimations. So far, the provincial administration has not taken any concrete steps to help us,' said Heriyanto.
The workers have taken to guarding the factory in turns to secure the assets that are expected to be able to compensate them for their entitlements.
Batam Manpower Office head Zarefriadi said his office had just received information regarding the matter.
'We are still thinking of a solution. We are currently searching for the investor and the value of investment,' said Zarefriadi.
The sudden closure of the factory is not the only such incident in Batam in the past few years. The first was television manufacturer PT Livatech, from Malaysia, followed by PT SCI from Japan, which also abruptly abandoned workers.
When reached, Batam Free Trade Zone Authority head Mustofa Widjaja declined to comment on the matter.