The Jakarta Post
Four striking workers at PT Sumber Bening Lestari, the producer of Flow mineral water, have died after a car crashed into a tent in which they were sleeping in front of the company's gates in Pasuruan, East Java, in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Pasuruan Police traffic law enforcement head Adj. Com. Dwi Nugroho said the accident happened when the driver, identified as Sopyan Wahyu Pujoningrat, 32, lost control of his vehicle while traveling at high speed in front of the company. Sopyan crashed into six motorcycles parked on the sidewalk before hitting one of two tents in which workers striking for a minimum wage were sleeping.
"The accident appears to have happened because the driver was drowsy," Dwi said on Tuesday as reported by kompas.com.
Two other workers who were also in the tent were injured.
Dwi said the Pasuruan Police were currently investigating the accident.
"We've arrested the driver for questioning," he said.
The Congress Alliance of Indonesian Labor Unions (KASBI) said in a written statement that it condemned the incident, alleging it was "murder" and "cruel".
"The incident was barbaric and cruel. We condemn the murder of the workers. We ask police officers to investigate and arrest the perpetrators and mastermind of the murders and bring them to justice," the statement read.
Akhmad Soim, the East Java coordinator of KASBI said the workers went on strike demanding the company increase their wages in accordance with the Pasuruan monthly minimum wage.
"They also demanded the company provide health insurance. They already filed a lawsuit against the company," Akhmad told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
He said that there were indications that the accident was planned because it took place around the same time as the announcement of the first hearing for the company in the labor dispute.
"[It's odd] because the accident happened around the same time as the court announced the schedule of the first hearing of the wage dispute, which would take place on March 19. The company received the announcement letter [from the court] yesterday," he said.
He claimed that two years ago workers also went on strike and the company hired thugs to harass them.
East Java Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Trunoyudho Wisnu Andiko said the police regarded the incident as a traffic accident.
"But if the traffic police directorate find any indication of any intentional factor behind the incident then the investigation of the case will be taken over by the criminal directorate," Trunoyudho told the Post.