Tag Archives: Campbell Soup

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.