Against Forced Retrenchment by Arnott’s Indonesia: A Solidarity Statement by ATNC

One of the worst nightmares of being a worker is forced retrenchment. Such case is now happening by workers of Arnott’s Indonesia in Bekasi City. To date, about 300 permanent workers have been fired, including the leaders of the union.

Arnott’s Indonesia is a wholly owned subsidiary of US food and beverage multinational, Campbell Soup Company built in 1869. Arnott’s Indonesia is one of the leading food company that produces well-distributed products such as Goodtimes, Tim Tam, Sticko, and Venesia among others. In 2017, the company gained revenue of $3 billion dollars given the increasing sales globally.

Despite this profit accumulation, the management claimed that the sales have been declining since 2014. Given the internal situation, they have to downsizing the number of workers in the production department. In doing so, the company retrenched the workers by forcefully asking them to take ‘voluntary resignation’.

The company is being not transparent with their claim of having sales declining. When Indonesian Labor Struggle Federation (Federasi Perjuangan Buruh Indonesia/ FPBI) along with FPBI, SPMAI, and KSPSI trade unions was invited in a meeting to be informed about the downsizing of the workers, the company was reluctant to open the company’s financial condition.

The trade union believes that the retrenchment in the name of sales declining is only a cover to sack workers. The reason of retrenchment also contradict with the memo posted by the management announcing that the company will recruit 200 workers in August 2018. The memo also says that the company will install the new machine and the production will be running as usual to meet the export targets.

The company should respect the workers’ rights. As part of Campbell’s supply chain, Arnott’s Indonesia is bounded with Campbell’s ‘Code of Business Conduct and Ethics’. In the code, it is stated that Campbell is committed to promoting equal opportunity. Campbell also aware of being subject to the laws of different countries, including Indonesian Labor Law, Act 13 of 2003. However, given the case, the code is only good on the paper: it is not practically working.

Indonesian Labor Law does not recognize voluntary resignation terms at the request of the company—which is contradictory in nature. In other words, the voluntary resignation has become null and void given the decision is forcibly imposed by the company.

Asia Transnational (ATNC) Monitoring is against arbitrariness and injustice towards workers. We support the demand of the workers who was unfairly sacked by Arnott’s to be re-employed. We urge the company to stop violating workers’ rights and completely comply with Indonesian Labor Law.

31 May 2018

Asian Transnational Corporations Monitoring Network

Endorsed by:

  1. Todd Jailer, author of Workers’ Guide to Health and Safety, United States
  2. Hilda Palmer, UK Hazards Campaign, UK
  3. Kathy Jenkins, European Work Hazards Network
  4. Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC), Hong Kong
  5. Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Union (HKCTU), Hong Kong
  6. Globalization Monitor (GM), Hong Kong
  7. Labor Education and Service Network (LESN), Hong Kong
  8. Workers Empowerment (WE), Hong Kong
  9. Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), Hong Kong
  10. Apo Leong, Labour Activist, Hong Kong
  11. Sanjiv Pandita, Suisse Solidar, Hong Kong Office
  12. Environics Trust, India
  13. Centre for Workers Education (CWE), India
  14. Workers Initiative Kolkata, India
  15. Peoples Training & Research Centre (PTRC), India
  16. Cambodia Food and Service Workers Federation (CFSWF). Cambodia
  17. Yaung Chi Oo Workers’ Association (YCOWA), Myanmar18. Committee for Asian Women (CAW), Malaysia
  18. Partai Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), Malaysia
  19. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT), Malaysia
  20. Ecumenical Institute for Labour Education and Research (ELIER), Philippines
  21. Centre for Trade Union and Human Right (CTUHR), Philippines
  22. Joy Hernandez, Labour Activist, Philippines
  23. Korean House for International Solidarity (KHIS), Korea
  24. National Free Trade Union (NFTU), Sri Lanka
  25. Ceylon Mercantile Union (CMU), Sri Lanka
  26. Confederation of National Trade Union (KSN), Indonesia
  27. The Indonesian Confederation of United Workers (KPBI), Indonesia
  28. Sedane Labour Resource Centre (LIPS), Indonesia
  29. Konfederasi Persatuan Rakyat Indonesia (KPRI), Indonesia
  30. Partai Rakyat Pekerja (PRP), Indonesia
  31. Patchane Kumnak, Labour Activist, Thailand
  32. Thailand Confederation of Trade Union (TCTU), Thailand
  33. Yokohama Action Research (YAR), Japan
  34. Textile and Garment Workers Federation (TGWF), Bangladesh
  35. Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress (BFTUC), Bangladesh
  36. Labour at Informal Economy (LIE), Bangladesh
  37. Labour Education Foundation (LEF), Pakistan
  38. Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED), Nepal
  39. Scottish Hazzards, Scotland
  40. Van Thu Ha, Labour Activist, Vietnam

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