Author Archives: joyamrc

TOYOTA WORKERS IN ALL COUNTRIES RISE UP! FIGHT AGAINST ALL FORMS OF INJUSTICES MADE BY TOYOTA JAPAN!

Toyota workers organized strike to protest the illegal dismissal. Photo: TMPCWA

We the workers of Toyota Philippines under the Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation Workers Association (TMPCWA) are continuing our fight for more than 17 years massive illegal dismissal made by Toyota to some 233 + 4 members of our union.

 

Toyota’s inhumane and arrogant action in terminating the members of the union was because they do not want the establishment of any genuine union inside their factory and because they were greedy guarding the huge profit that they are enjoying in numerous years that were provided by their workers.

 

Our more than 17 years’ struggle has resulted in several victories including numerous ILO Recommendations. Unfortunately, Toyota keeps on discounting all of them because Toyota believes they are more powerful than any other laws. Toyota assumes (or considers) that they can simply escape from all of their accountabilities to the illegally dismissed workers because they are very powerful. No matter how powerful Toyota is, the TMPCWA will continue to carry the struggle and will fight until we get the victory that we deserve.

 

We judge that our situation in Toyota Philippines is similar to the situation of the workers in Nanbu (Supply Chain of Toyota), as well as in DAIHATSU workers in Indonesia. We suffered from discrimination against the union and union busting by Toyota which prohibits our legitimate rights as workers. We do trust that this policy has originated in Toyota Japan and we also believe that Toyota Japan must act regarding this matter.

 

The massive offensive against the workers’ lives and livelihoods is not permissible. We must not license the inhuman actions of Toyota against their workers in all subsidiaries in all countries.  We must fight and struggle as one. We have to rise up together and pinpoint our struggle directly to Toyota Japan and AKIO Toyoda as the mastermind of all of Toyota’s policies in all countries. Let the whole world knows about our struggle and let Toyota pay expensively for all their crimes to their workers.

 

LET US UNITE AND FIGHT TOGETHER AND CONDEMN TOYOTA’S ANTI-WORKERS POLICY AND ARROGANT BEHAVIOUR!

 

LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!

 

Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation

Workers Association (TMPCWA)

September 6, 2018

 

Nanbu Employees Being Rehired, But Contractual Status Remains Unclear

Workers protest against contractual employment. Photo: Metaruang

A total of 28 workers of PT. Nanbu Plastics Indonesia (NPI) which were laid off in early April has recently been reinstated. Furthermore, the company has also paid off all outstanding unpaid salary and end-of-Ramadhan allowance (Tunjangan Hari Raya/ THR).

This was conveyed by the president of the labor union SEBUMI Faisal Al Rahmad. “All unilaterally dismissed (labors) are working again. Salaries, THR, have been paid,” said Faisal via text message on Thursday, July 5, 2018.

This decision is the result of a mediation between management, the union and Municipal Representative of the Manpower Ministry (Disnaker). In a joint agreement signed by the union on Friday, June 8, 2018, it was stated that the company should reinstate all laid-off workers.

Faisal added that 28 workers have started working again at PT. NPI since Saturday, July 2, 2018. The 28 workers re-employed include a pregnant mother.

However, this re-employment agreement does not apply to a worker named Azuhrotul, whom the company deems to have resigned. The company claimed to have summoned him up to 3 (three) times, but he did not come. But on the contrary, Azuhrotul claims to not receive an invitation letter from the company (via JNE’s expedition service) or any other party.

A check on JNE shows the first letter’s status as ‘return’ – which means that it did not get through the recipient, and thus returned to the sender.  The second letter instead was shown to be accepted by someone named Retno, not Azuhrotul. Lastly, the third one was again listed as ‘return’. Of course, such correspondence does not meet the provisions of Article 168 of Indonesian Labor Law no. 13 of 2003, concerning the invitation of workers by companies related to resignation.

Moreover, the said unpaid salary which the company have promised to pay is still uncertain in term of its details. Until now, they have not received any wage slip. This also obviously applies to Azuhrotul.

 

Atika’s medical expenses are borne by the company

After the letter of agreement was signed, PT. NPI also contacted Atika Nafitasari, a worker of PT. NPI who suffered an accident and was laid off in January 2018. To Atika, the company stated that they would be willing to take responsibility and bear all medical expenses due to said work accident experienced by Atika until she recovered.

“[The company] told me, that [they] want to pay for the treatment,” Atika said.

Atika is a victim of a work accident involving a press machine that makes the middle finger of her right hand cut off, on Monday, September 26, 2016. Allegedly, the condition of the press machine was not optimal, but the management ignored it and still ordered workers to keep working it.

 

The issue of contractual status (Perjanjian Kerja Waktu Tertentu/PKWT) remains unclear

Unfortunately, PT. NPI is still reluctant to settle the case of the employment agreement for a definite period of time (PKWT)—or in another term is contractual employment. To date, the company still refuses to reinstate Atika and eight other interns, as well as hiring them to be permanent employees.

The case concerning the PKWT should refer to the subject issued on 28 May 2018, which recommends that the status of the 7 PKWTs of their status be changed to an employment agreement for an indefinite period of time (PKWTT). However, until now the recommendation has not been acted upon by the company. In fact, one party from HRD claimed that he rejected the recommendations from Disnaker to change the employment status to permanent

In fact, Atika and other 7 contractual workers work in a continuous and fixed job. Under the terms of Article 59 of Indonesian Labor Law and Regulation of Manpower Ministry no. 100 of 2004, they should be appointed as permanent employees from the beginning. Hiring them as apprentices is unlawful. Until the report is revealed, the workers with the status PKWT have not paid their wages.

Faisal stressed that they will continue to fight for cases of violation of this PKWT through litigation and non-litigation. “We will continue to fight until [case] PKWT is solved,” said Faisal.

Indeed, this success is the fruit of SEBUMI’s continuous struggle to consistently demand the company to stop misappropriation and unfair conduct of its own workers. “It’s the result of our action,” Atika said.

Previously, dozens of workers working at PT. The NPI was laid off after a protest. This protest action was conducted in response to the breach of PKWT provisions by the company.

Those affected by the layoffs are also workers who are members of SEBUMI and actively advocating their fellow workers at PT. NPI receiving arbitrary treatment from the company, such as the negligence of the company in dealing with accidents, forced overtime, to non-compliant work facilities.

 

Source: http://metaruang.com/buruh-nanbu-dipekerjakan-kembali-status-pkwt-belum-jelas/

Translator: Yanuar Farhanditya

Editor: Rizal Assalam

Response from Migrant Worker Communities and Migrant Rights’ Civil Society Organizations With Regards To Ongoing Raids on Undocumented Migrants in Malaysia 4 July 2018

Migrant workers in Hong Kong organized a rally in May Day 2018. Photo: Rizal

In response to the ongoing enforcement operations on undocumented migrant workers by the Immigration Department of Malaysia and as per press release (31 May 2018) by the Home Affairs Minister of Malaysia, YB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Haji Mohd Yassin, of the new Pakatan Harapan government, we the migrant community and CSOs concerned about migrants’ rights in Malaysia are very concerned about the future of migrants in the country. The directives in the press statement fail again to address the root causes of the issues and do not provide enough time for proper discussions and analysis for just remedies which need to be holistic, comprehensive and be based on ILO Conventions and fundamental Human Rights principles. These concerns also cover refugees, asylum seekers and stateless communities, who are also at risks of being detained during this new enforcement operations.

 

How Migrants Become Undocumented

Many of the migrants the Malaysian Government has labelled “Illegal” (or in more humane terms “undocumented”) attain that status due to no fault of their own. Some of these reasons include:

Trafficking: Malaysia’s history as a human trafficking hub is well documented by civil society and even reflected in Government data. Recent revelations regarding a large and politically well-connected trafficking syndicate, as well as Malaysia’s downgrade to Tier 2 Watch List of the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report further reinforces our fears of the prevalent and possibly even systemic existence of trafficking networks within Malaysia. We must never punish migrants who became victims of trafficking to Malaysia, as their circumstances are beyond their control. Criminalizing victims and survivors is not the way to go; we should instead be going after the syndicates and those responsible.

Deception: Agents have a history of giving false advice and promises regarding the process of getting permits and jobs in Malaysia. Some migrants have low literacy levels, making them susceptible to fraud and deception, and even literate migrant workers become possible victims of fraud and unjust treatment by both recruiters and employers. Recruiters promise work permits and good employment contracts with decent wages and conditions. Upon arrival, however, these workers often find that not only have their contracts, employment sites, and terms and conditions been changed but that they may have also violated Malaysian immigration laws. For most workers, there is little access to justice or right to redress mechanisms in proving the fraud and deception.

Rehiring: The rehiring process is lengthy and non-transparent, and the subcontractors and sub-agents of rehiring face little accountability. It is a privatized process driven by profiteering motifs, fraud and deception. For example, workers are not given receipts of rehiring payments and many agents cheat workers, taking their money but not providing e-cards. There is no adequate redress mechanism that can investigate and track these agents. While we welcome the cancellation of problematic rehiring contractors, we are afraid that workers in the midst of registration may be again victimized by this move.

Renewal: The migrant working visa renewal process is equally riddled with cheating, a lack of transparency and little accountability by agents and employers. Most migrants have little idea of how this opaque process works. Passports are often illegally held by employers and whether their visas are renewed or not is out of the beyond the worker’s control.

Employer bondage and exploitation: The past Malaysian Government’s hiring policy, which now needs to be reviewed by the new government, requires an employer’s consent for workers to change employers. This inflexibility is particularly problematic in cases of exploitation, intimidation and physical violence where workers have no choice but to abscond and become undocumented. This is exacerbated where workers’ passports have been illegally retained. This system, which resembles the widely-criticized kafala system practised in Gulf countries, provides little option to seek redress for workers in this situation, particularly with the overhanging threat of deportation.

Amnesty blacklisting: The 3 + 1 amnesty program, which blacklists workers for five (5) years, further discourages them from using the amnesty system and thus forces them to become undocumented.

Accountability: The complex commercial chains of private outsourcing companies and agents that govern migrant workers’ affairs activities render them largely unaccountable. Companies and agents often deny or neglect their responsibility for their workers, and many migrant workers become undocumented because of the irresponsibility of these companies and agents.

Border enforcement: Documented corruption and inefficiency within border enforcement agencies add to the problems faced by migrant workers, benefitting from the activities of the accountable recruitment industry and providing little relief or assistance when things go wrong.

Recruitment debt: Many migrant workers believe the promises made to them in countries of origin by agents and employers, borrowing huge sums from syndicates and moneylenders to finance the initial migration costs. This debt bondage is exacerbated by the illegitimate substitution of contract terms, arbitrarily driving down wages and conditions and imposing unaccountable wage deductions, making repayment increasingly difficult. Sending people home in such circumstances is putting many workers at risk, and this needs to be clearly addressed.

 

To ensure that all labour migration matters are handled in a way that gives dignity and respect to migrant workers, we demand a holistic solution based on the following recommendations:

  1. An immediate moratorium on raids/enforcement operation “Ops Mega 3.0” to ensure no workers are punished for crimes which are not of their fault. These raids and operations should be suspended while a holistic assessment of all the issues and potential comprehensive solutions are undertaken with all stakeholders with regard to labour migration.
  2. That the Government makes available the Standard Operating Procedure for conducting raids and detaining undocumented migrant workers, so that human rights and civil society organisations can ensure fundamental rights are protected and due process guaranteed.
  3. To decriminalize the “undocumented” status of workers (which is an administrative offence), and recognize that becoming undocumented is primarily an outcome of labour exploitation. This is especially relevant for vulnerable groups like women and child migrant workers, who face additional layers of exploitation which leads to them being undocumented and victims of forced labour and trafficking.
  4. That the Committee for Institutional Reforms facilitates safe dialogue spaces between the Government of Malaysia and migrant communities and other relevant stakeholders and social actors to propose evidence-based solutions. Such solutions must be based on clear verified labour market data (for example from the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis, employer organizations and other sound economic analysis) and base its solutions on fundamental Human Rights and Decent Work principles. The involvement of the International Labour Organisation would be advisable in this respect.
  5. To facilitate the overhaul and expansion of Government-to-Government hiring mechanisms as the primary means by which workers are recruited in Malaysia in a manner that is transparent and accountable as well as evidence- and rights-based.
  6. More time must be given to migrant workers to process and secure their working visa status and make decisions on their working status in Malaysia. Unrealistic deadlines force workers to risk going underground, collaborating with exploitative actors within the labour supply chain, driving criminality and other high-risk activities.
  7. The Government should stop blacklisting migrant workers who use the 3 + 1 Amnesty Program, an action which only discourages its use. The program should be conducted exclusively by the Immigration Department to avoid levying excessive charges on already-struggling workers and discourage profiteering.
  8. The Government must ensure all migrants have access to justice and the right to redress, including when they are caught and detained. This due diligence must be practiced by enforcement agencies and the judiciary to ensure accused migrants have a fair trial and a chance to defend themselves. Migrants must have guaranteed access to legal aid from the National Legal Aid Foundation to achieve these goals.

 

Migrant workers play a huge part in securing economic growth for Malaysia and will still be needed in years to come by various industries. The Government must play a more active role in educating the Malaysian people that migrant workers are not their enemies or the cause of their own financial or employment problems.

Migrants are here because the Malaysian government, employers in formal and informal sectors and agents opened spaces for their work. So how can migrants be ‘illegal’? No person is illegal. We have always been keen to discuss these matters with all appropriate authorities to find the best solutions. This is a good time for the new Government to take stock of what the real situation is and what determine what possible solutions might be, before taking any actions.

Accordingly, migrant communities and CSOs concerned about migrants’ rights request an urgent meeting with the Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Human Resource to discuss and propose comprehensive, rights-based solutions on these and related issues.

Endorsed by

  1. Asosasyon ng mga Makabayang Manggagawang Pilipino Overseas(AMMPO), Philippines/Malaysia
  2. Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), Philippines
  3. SERANTAU, Indonesia/Malaysia
  4. Building and Wood Workers’ International Asia-Pacific
  5. GEFONT Support Group, Nepal/Malaysia
  6. Pravasi Nepali Coordination Committee (PNCC, Nepal/Malaysia
  7. Myanmar Migrants Rights Centre (MMRC), Myanmar/Malaysia
  8. Muglan-Migants Advisor, Nepal/Malaysia
  9. Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia(SBMI), Indonesia
  10. Nepalese People Progresive Forum, Nepal/Malaysia
  11. Tenaganita, Malaysia
  12. Migrant 88
  13. Penang Stop Human Trafficking Campaign, Malaysia
  14. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor(PSWS), Malaysia
  15. Committee of Asian Women (CAW)
  16. North South Initiative (NSI), Malaysia
  17. Suara Rakyat Malaysia, Malaysia, Malaysia
  18. Pusat Komas
  19. Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies, Bangladesh
  20. Workers Hub For Change(WH4C), Malaysia
  21. People Forum for Human Rights(People Forum), Kathmandu, Nepal
  22. Center for Migrant Advocacy, Philippines (CMA-Phils), Philippines
  23. The People’s Coalition for Fisheries Justice (KIARA), Indonesia
  24. SEAFish for Justice, Indonesia
  25. Health Equity Initiatives (HEI)
  26. Asian Network for Social & Agricultural Development (SANSAD)
  27. Coalition of Cambodian Farmers Community Association (CCFC), Cambodia
  28. Community Development Services (CDS), Colombo, Sri Lanka
  29. Adaleh Center for Human Rights Studies, Jordan
  30. Association for Community Development (ACD), Bangladesh
  31. Think Centre, Singapore
  32. Dibashram (Migrant Workers Cultural Centre), Singapore
  33. Burmese Worker Circle, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
  34. Tahanang Filipino Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  35. Institute of Education Development, Social, Religious and Cultural Studies (infest) Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  36. Migrant CARE Indonesia
  37. Migrant CARE Malaysia
  38. New Thessalonian Apostolate (NTA), Malaysia
  39. PieceWorks International
  40. Projek Dialog, Malaysia
  41. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER), Malaysia
  42. Pertubuhan Pembangunan Kebajikan Dan Persekitaran Positif Malaysia (SEED), Malaysia
  43. Radanar Ayar Association, Myanmar
  44. Asia Transnational Corporation Monitoring Network(ATNC)
  45. Workers Initiative Kolkata, India
  46. Asia Monitor Resources Centre (AMRC)
  47. Konfederasi Serikat Nasional (KSN), Indonesia
  48. Federation of Indonesian Trade Union (GSBI), Indonesia
  49. Sedane Labour Resource Centre, Indonesia
  50. Center for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (CENTRAL), Cambodia
  51. Parti Sosialis Malaysia(PSM), Malaysia
  52. International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF)
  53. Textile Garments Workers Federation, Bangladesh
  54. Australia Asia Workers Links, Australia
  55. Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA)
  56. Serikat Buruh Kerakyatan (SERBUK), Indonesia
  57. Angkatan Peduli Insan, Malaysia
  58. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT), Malaysia
  59. Seksualiti Merdeka, Malaysia
  60. Arts For Grabs, Malaysia
  61. Archdiocesan Office of Human Development, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  62. Geutanyoe Foundation
  63. Bhalobashi Bangladesh, Bangladesh
  64. Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM), Malaysia
  65. SAVE Rivers, Malaysia
  66. Harmonyworks, Malaysia
  67. The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham), Malaysia
  68. Justice For Sisters, Malaysia
  69. Women’s Aid Organization (WAO), Malaysia
  70. Parti Murba, Malaysia
  71. Kuliah Buku (KUBU), Malaysia
  72. Smile Education and Development Foundation, Myanmar
  73. Aliran Kesedaran Negara(ALIRAN), Malaysia
  74. Community Transformation Initiative (CTI), Malaysia
  75. Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN), Malaysia
  76. Hope Organization, Malaysia
  77. Advocates for Non-Discrimination and Access to Knowledge (ANAK), Malaysia
  78. Gusdurian Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  79. International Planned Parenthood Federation
  80. International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Asia Pacific
  81. Civil Rights Committee of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Malaysia
  82. Malaysia Muda, Malaysia
  83. Malaysian Progressives in Australia
  84. VajraLink, Malaysia
  85. Electronics Industry Employees Union Southern Region, Malaysia
  86. Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility (CARAM)
  87. GreenWatch, Dhaka, Malaysian
  88. Human Traficking Watch, Indonesia
  89. Gabungan Serikat Buruh Indonesia (GSBI), Indonesia
  90. Front Perjuangan Rakyat (FPR)
  91. International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) Indonesia,
  92. Keluarga Buruh Migran Indonesia (KABAR BUMI), Indonesia
  93. Institute for National and Democracy Studies (INDIES), Indonesia
  94. People Idea Culture, Malaysia
  95. The Human Lens
  96. Indonesian Migrant Muslim Alliance (GAMMI-HK), Hong Kong
  97. Al Jami’ayyatus Sholeha, Hong Kong
  98. United Indonesian Migrant Workers Against Overcharging, Hong Kong
  99. Asosiasi BMI Progresif (ABP), Hong Kong
  100. Warkop Aremania, Hong Kong
  101. Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers (ATKI-HK), Hong Kong
  102. Jamaah Silahturohimi Blitar, (JSB-HK), Hong Kong
  103. Nurul Hidayah,Hong Kong
  104. Lentera Wong Tai Sin, Hong Kong
  105. Al Islami, Hong Kong
  106. Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (IMWU-HK), Hong Kong
  107. Asosiasi Pekerja Indonesia Timur Tengah (ASPITT), Hong Kong
  108. Al Istiqomah International Muslim Society, Hong Kong
  109. Indonesian Migrant Workers Union Macau (IMWUM), Macau
  110. Beringin Tetap Maidenlike and Benevolent (BTM & B), Hong Kong
  111. Orang Indonesia Merah Putih (OI-MP), Hong Kong
  112. Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) Penang, Malaysia
  113. Arakan Refugee Relief Committee (ARRC),Malaysia
  114. Alliance of Chin Refugees, Malaysia
  115. Kachin Refugee Committee, Malaysia
  116. The Patani, Patani/Thailand
  117. Tamil Nadu Land Rights Federation (TNLRF), India
  118. IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh
  119. Future Watch Movement, Bangladesh
  120. ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC)
  121. Union Network International Asia Pacific Regional Office (UNI APRO)
  122. Peoples Forum, Nepal
  123. POURAKHI, Nepal
  124. Transient Workers Count Too, Singapore

Individuals

  1. Rev Ng Kok Kee, Pastor of Harvest Community Church Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
  2. Mahi Ramakrishnan, Filmmaker/Journalist
  3. Dr Chan Chee Khun, Academician
  4. Anselmo Lee, Activist
  5. Laurence Kwark, Activist
  6. Abu Hayat, Consultant on Bangladeshi Migration Corridor

Workers of Arnott’s Indonesia demand their job back; opposes union-busting scheme and retrenchment

FPBI organized protest against forced retrenchment in front of Arnott’s Factory, June 1st. Photo: FPBI

Arnott’s Indonesia workers’ testimony clearly states that the company does not have any commitment whatsoever to the just and equal treatment. Plant-level union chairperson, Muhardi, gave an example of this attitude when he explained how Arnott’s Indonesia handed employment termination letter to a pregnant worker after she refused to sign voluntary resignation handed by the management.[1]

On June 18, 2018, Arnott’s Indonesia released a statement as a response to FPBI’s statement on the company’s forced to resign to its 320 workers.[2] However, it is unfortunate that this response was not addressed directly either to Asia Transnational Corporation (ATNC) Monitoring Network or to FPBI.[3] Furthermore, this response is only the company’s defence which is in contrary with workers’ testimony.

The company is failed in responding reinstatement demand of the workers who had been forced to resign. The statement that the company is having a decrease in production volume and market share cannot be proven. Muhardi explains that the company’s production is normal. FPBI national leader Rizky, in a meeting added, “The company refused to disclose its financial report so that together with the union, despite the company’s statement that it has been losing for the last four years.”

Arnott’s response bears a lie. The company said that it had a discussion and negotiation with the workers before the management forced the workers to resign. Whereas, based on workers’ testimony there was only a socialization about management’s plan to workers. There was not any space for dialogue in a socialization, which was done first on May 4, 2018. “When we received the invitation letter, there “subject” on the letter was empty,” said Muhardi when he was asked about the socialization.

Arnott’s seems trying to create a good image by stating that the company offered “a generous compensation package which is more favourable than the statutory”. Arnott’s is using the Idul Fitri[4] moment to offer the compensation to workers who had been forced to resign. With Iedul Fitri just around the corner, workers have more pressure to accept the compensation offered to pay their cost to have a family visit to their home province (in Indonesia, known as mudik)

For nine workers who are still struggling to demand of reinstatement, the problem is not just related to the amount of rightful compensation offered. They try to fight back the company’s despotic act. “We want to show that the company cannot just throw away its workers just like that. Therefore, we will keep on fighting and stand with the demand of reinstatement,” said one of Arnott’s workers.

According to Abu Mufakhir, ATNC representative, the case of mass layoffs usually followed by the worsening of the working condition. “After lay off, usually the company would recruit new workers with the employment status of non-regular or contract to replace the permanent workers. The worsening of working condition for example in the form of overtime wage reduction.”

This exactly what happened in Arnott’s Indonesia today. In its response, Arnott’s denied the fact that the company would recruit new workers in the near future. On May 9, 2018, the company released an announcement contained a list of 140 workers who would start working in three shifts on August 1, 2018. Majority of workers listed in the announcement are contract workers who are only hired during peak season.

“There will be open recruitment on August which means the production is normal even toward the high season,” Rizky added.

Company’s announcement contains list of workers who will start working on August 1, 2018. Source: FPBI

Company’s announcement contains list of workers who will start working on August 1, 2018. Source: FPBI

Upon realizing the worsening of the working condition, nine Arnott’s workers who are still struggling will take litigation as well as a non-litigation process for their demand of reinstatement. “We are not fighting for ourselves, but also for our comrades who are still working inside the factory so they will not have to suffer poor working condition. This is our way of fighting against despotism and tyranny,” added Muhardi.

 

Download the ATNC’s request letter to Campbell: Letter to Campbells Soup on Arnotss case

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[1] Complete story could be found in http://majalahsedane.org/siapa-bilang-tidak-bisa-phk-orang-hamil-kita-main-cantik-kok/

[2] https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/indonesia-arnotts-a-subsidiary-of-campbell-soup-company-faces-allegations-of-forcibly-dismissing-workers-company-responds

[3] ATNC has sent a request letter officially to Campbell in May 31th, 2018. The letter was endorsed by 41 organizations in support of the workers’ demand to be reemployed.

[4] Iedul Fitri is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). In Indonesia, working-class celebrate Idul Fitri by visiting family in the home province.

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

FPBI against Forced Retrenchment by Arnott’s Indonesia (Inc)

Workers of Arnott’s Indonesia organized protest against the forced retrenchment. Photo: FPBI

Arnott’s Indonesia is a wholly owned subsidiary of US food and beverage multinational, Campbell Soup Company built in 1869. Located in Bekasi City, West Java, This company produces snacks such as Goodtimes, Tim Tam, Nyam-Nyam, Sticko, Venesia, Presites, and Pirouette. Arnott’s Indonesia also produce not only for the domestic market. The company export its snack products such Royal Dansk to 32 countries

The company is among of the leaders in the food sector. In 1991 the company was using Bukit Manikam Sakti (BMS) as its name. It produced some products such Nyam Nyam, Slamet, and Goodtime. During 1997-1998, the company changed its name to Helios. Eventually in 2000, the company officially changed as Arnott’s Indonesia. Currently, Arnott’s Indonesia employs 1200 workers, among them 500-600 workers are contractual.

Chronologies of Retrenchment Case

On May 3, 2018 the unions at PT Arnots Indonesia, Indonesian Labor Struggle Federation (Federasi Perjuangan Buruh Indonesia/ FPBI) along with FPBI,  SPMAI, and KSPSI, received an invitation from the management to attend a meeting on May  4 was invited by the Arnott’s Indonesia management to attend meeting on Friday, 4th May 2018 in Fave Hotel, Central Jakarta.

There was no explanation about agenda of the meeting. At the time of the meeting,

The management told the unions that the company is downsizing its workers because of declining in sales. They claimed that the progress has been decreased since 2014. Given the situation, the management asked workers to take a long-term Ramadhan holiday, starting from 11st May to 28th May 2018.

The result of the efficiency measures is a dismissal of workers. At the end of the meeting, the management asked the unions to sign the meeting notes. FPBI, affiliates of KPBI, rejected the downsizing plan and refused to sign the meeting notes since the meeting was more to a briefing forum rather than a bipartite negotiation meeting.

Monday, 7th May 2018: The management explained about an internal condition, especially sales department. They also told about production department. According to them, the company needs to increase employees in the production department, because there is not enough capacity in the department of production to employ the current number of workers. The trade union made their cases against the claim made by the management, but still, the management still stands with their argument.

According to them, the company will give 2 times of compensation according to the regulation under the ministry of manpower (consist of severance, long service and substitution payment) + 1-month separation payment. But SPSI asked to increase the number of separation payment. Then, the management agreed to increase it in according to the demand. So, the management offered 2 times of compensation + 2 months separation payment. FPBI on this matter disagree about the offering. FPBI also did not want to sign the bipartite agreement.

Tuesday, 8th May 2018: The management announced voluntary resignation for the permanent workers. The post says that for the workers who voluntary resign from the company, the management provides severance as much as 2 times the requirement by the ministry of manpower plus 3-month wages. The company set three batches to “the voluntary resignation”. The first period is May 8-15; second period May 16-21; and for the third period, the company will name the workers to “voluntarily resign”.

On May 23, 2018, the company prevented the union officials from FPBI to enter the factory. The unions responded to it by launching a spontaneous demonstration, forming a picket line in front of the factory.

Declining in sales is only a cover to sack workers. FPBI found the downsizing due to declining in sales contradicts with the memo posted by the management announcing that the company will recruit 200 people after Eid in August 2018. The memo also says that the company will install the new machine and the production is running as usual to meet the export target. FPBI concluded that the downsizing is only a cover to sack the workers.  To date, about 300 workers have been fired, including the leaders of the unions.

 

Mass retrenchment is a crime against humanity

There are currently millions of people in the labor force looking for jobs in a very crowded job market with narrow opportunities. Of course, workers aspire to a decent work to ensure sustainability of life for themselves and their family. The Indonesian Labor Law basically contains a substance to make flexible the labor regime with the aim to be able to meet the needs of the capitalist to sustain capital accumulation. It is often referred to as ‘labor market flexibility’

In this capitalistic economic system, every industrial relations problem such as employment is constituted under the market mechanism of bargaining between the capital owner and the worker. The state in this regard acting as a legislator, while the wrong and the truth will be determined subsequently by the court. This means that such a State has no power to crack down on any violation of labor normative rights, and the courts will depend on the subjective judicial views and decisions.

The handling of law enforcement by and the settlement of labor dispute from the state to market mechanism is the main cause of continuous violation of the workers’ rights. Yet again the workers always become the victim of any such disputes. The presence of the State as the society’s servant should be the key to secure work and life for the workers in particular and society in general. But when the State is absent in the middle of a situation where the supply of labor is abundant, along with the competition between workers, will always be a golden opportunity for any company to undermine the workers’ rights.

The impact of flexible employment sector added with the absence of the State ultimately make retrenchment a very easy thing to do by the company, as well as the employment agreement in accordance with the wishes of the owner, or the company regulations in accordance with the will of the company. In short, the presence of a flexible labor market, a law that does not regulate and impose strict sanctions. The state that does not take firm action and does not guarantee the protection of its citizen will ultimately always have an adverse effect on every working people. Workers will forever be the victims.

In Bekasi, in Arnott s Indonesia case, the company is trying to retrench workers by PDS or voluntary resignation mechanism. However, the term ‘voluntary’ is being used only to cover the retrenchment because there are indications of coercion done by the company. The term voluntary in reality is a coercion. The company argues that a decline in production became the reason for management to retrench workers. A total of 300 employees were forced to ‘voluntary resign’ with an offer of severance pay.

The company paid back workers’ dedication by dismissing them. The workers would get nothing for the coming ‘Idul Fitr’ of Muslim’s glorious day. Workers are not appreciated, easily disposed for the sake of abundant profits over the years of hard working.In the Indonesian Labor Law, the resignation terms are stipulated as following: 1. Management may terminate the employment of workers due to entering retirement age (Article 167 Paragraph 1 of Act 13 of 2003).2. Indonesian Labor Law does not stipulate the retirement age limit, however it is then stipulated in Government Regulation Act 45 of 2015 on Pension Program. According to the regulation in Article 15:

  • Paragraph (1) states that for the the retirement age is 56 (fifty six) years.
  • Paragraph (2) from 1 January 2019 the retirement age as referred to in paragraph (1) shall be 57 (fifty seven) years.

According to the law, the workers entitled to get a pension and the employer is obligated to give compensation for a retirement. Both the Labor Law and the Government Regulation does not recognize Voluntary Resignation terms at the request of the company except if it based on a request of the worker themselves. This means that if the voluntary resignation done before the age of retirement is basically null and void, given the refusal of the workers. In other words voluntary resignation will be categorized as one-sided retrenchment.

Voluntary resignation is nothing but mass retrenchment that will bring the worker of Arnott’s Indonesia into the abyss of suffering for themselves and for their families. The future economic situation will ultimately become a burden for workers to socialize in the midst of society. The situation will obviously different between those who are still working with those who are laid off or not working. The consequences will continue as long as the state does not defend and protect workers’ rights.

We from Indonesian Labor Struggle Federation (FPBI) branch in Bekasi are against the voluntary resignation imposed by Arnott’s Indonesia management. We demand the management to re-employ the workers back to their original position. The dismissal is illegal given that the company is in good shape, and the action is basically an effort to eradicating and suppress trade unions. We also call for a full support to the entire family of the Indonesian Labor Struggle Federation wherever they are located and to the entire movement of the people to stand against the arbitrariness. The forced retrenchment through voluntary resignation is a crime against humanity that must be countered by the entire labor movement as well as the popular movement.

 

Contact Person:

Agusto. Chairman of FPBI Bekasi branch, Chairman of FPBI Arnotts Union.

+62896-8594-3433; qmerah1926@gmail.com

Ian Ahong, Media and Propaganda Department of KPBI

+62 821-1214-2182

Stop Deadly Working Hours in Asia

Long working hours impact to our health.

Long working hours impact to our health.

In modern society, work has no meaning for the working class. Our daily routine is monotonous, dull and demeaning. We do our work not to develop our potential, but to enrich our employer. Most of our precious time is spent generating profits for the capitalists. Being working class means being forced to dedicate our time and even our lives to the capitalists.

In Asia, workers’ lives are literally bound to the capitalists. Workers spend around 8-14 hours a day, or 45-70 hours/ week, on average at the workplace for very low wages. Workers in Hong Kong, for example, are reported to work an average of 50.1 hours a week, while only recently in South Korea it was announced that the average working hours would be reduced to 52 hours/ week from 68 hours previously.

In other parts of Asia, workers are ordered to work longer. Garment workers in Bangladesh are forced to work up to 14-16 hours a day for a six day a week. In some cases, the exhaustive working conditions are made worse by long overtime work. Workers in Japan log at least 80 hours of overtime a month, but this can amount to as much as 159 hours, equal to 6 hours of overtime each day.

Although in some countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines the maximum working hours should not be more than 8 hours under the countries’ labor laws, if travel time is included this can still mean a 12-13 hour day due to bad traffic and the long-distance commute to major cities such as Jakarta and Manila Workers can spend 5 hours just to commute tens of kilometers between their workplace and their home.

Stress and fatigue caused by exhausting working conditions do not come without more severe health risks. In China, where average working hours exceed 60 hours per week, official figures reported that in 2014 1,600 workers died every day from working too hard. Meanwhile, a woman worker in Japan last year reportedly died from heart failure after logging 159 hours of overtime.

Deadly working hours exist elsewhere in Asia. In Hong Kong, 19 passengers were killed when a bus driver who was exhausted due to long driving hours (12-14 hours) crashed. Similarly, in Indonesia, tank truck drivers employed by Pertamina Inc (an Indonesian state-owned oil company) face death risks by driving petrol tanks for more than 12 hours a day.

Death by overwork or ‘work to death’ is so prevalent that there is even a term to define it: Karoshi (過労死) in Japan, Gwarosa (과로사/過勞死) in South Korea and Guolaosi (过劳死) in China.  Even though there are no particular terms, Cambodia’s garment workers are also literally working themselves to death. Mass fainting in the factory is reported in many countries, such as Cambodia and Indonesia, while in China we have already heard the sad story of Foxconn workers becoming suicidal due to harsh working conditions.

Long working hours brings no benefit at all to society. Lack of rest due to overwork can lead to the accumulation of stress and fatigue, which is one of the main sources of many health risks. Increasing stress hormones may cause heart failure or strokes, while the decreased metabolic ability due to lack of rest may cause diabetes. Overwork will not make workers become more productive but their cognitive level will decrease as the result of exhaustion.

Sleep deprivation may affect mental health and workers may become emotionally aggressive. Workers may frequently fight with his/her spouse due to accumulated stress. It is also common that stress may turn into depression or anxiety. This is reflected in the high suicide rate in South Korea where 40 people commit suicide every day on average.

Intensification of competition under free market capitalism has only adversely impacted on the working class. The ‘Race to the Bottom’ has created even more harsh conditions at the workplace. Workers are forced to work harder and harder to earn nothing but death itself. By extending working hours, the capitalists are not only robbing the fruits of our labor, but our dignity and even our lives.

Working in excess of the limits of our physical and mental capacity has already proven harmful to our lives. ATNC Monitoring Network demands our governments strictly limit working hours to 6 hours per day without reducing workers’ wages. In order to maintain both our physical and mental health, we should have time to rest for at least 8 hours per day. Working hours should also take into account commuting time from home to the workplace and back. We will not have enough time to rest if we spend too much time commuting.

ATNC Monitoring Network also demands decent wages, not only to sustain our basic needs but also to develop our potential as human beings. If we earn decent wages we will not need to work longer to increase our income to meet basic needs and we will not need to work deadly working hours anymore.

We had a victory in limiting working hours as a result of constant class struggle since the “Eight Hour Movement” on May 1st, 1886. However, our victory has now been taken away from us as the number of working hours is almost exactly the same as before the Eight Hours Movement. We should not remain silent any longer as our quality of life has been degraded to the point of death. We should reclaim our victory.

 

April 24th, 2018

Asia Transnational Corporation Monitoring Network

 

Endorsers:

  • Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong
  • Globalization Monitor, Hong Kong
  • Committee for Asian Women, Malaysia
  • Centre for Workers Education, India
  • Labour Education Foundation, Pakistan
  • Ecumenical Institute for Labour Education and Research, Philippines
  • Textile and Garment Worker Federation, Bangladesh
  • Korean House for International Solidarity, Korea
  • Yokohama Action Research, Japan
  • Patchane Kumnak, Good Electronics Thailand
  • Thailand Confederation of Trade Union, Thailand
  • National Free Trade Union, Sri Lanka
  • Confederation of National Trade Union, Indonesia
  • The Indonesian Confederation of United Workers, Indonesia
  • Sedane Labour Resource Centre, Indonesia
  • Yaung Chi Oo Workers’ Association, Myanmar
  • Cambodia Food and Services Worker Federation, Cambodia
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