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Okt '03

Employers told to better investment climate

Manpower and Transmigration Minister Jacob Nuwa Wea asked employers on Wednesday to respect the rights of local workers and for labor unions to help create a more conducive climate for investment.

Nuwa Wea explained that employers could avert labor strikes and keep their investments secure in Indonesia if they complied with the labor law regulating workers’ rights.

He added that industrial disputes with workers could be settled peacefully if the employers built more bridges with the labor unions.

“There should be no more dishonesty among us,” the minister said upon inaugurating the new office of the Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo) in Kuningan, South Jakarta.

“Therefore, employers and labor unions have to continue building good communication, mutual trust and transparency bipartitely.”

Nuwa Wea, also chairman of the Confederation of All-Indonesian Workers Union (KSPSI), lashed out at the use of industrial strikes by workers to put pressure on employers to meet their demands, saying the move had contributed to foreign investors’ distrust in Indonesia and obstacles to economic recovery.

“In the event of industrial strikes, both employers and workers are the losers,” Nuwa Wea said, “Employers lose time and products while workers waste time being unproductive and sometimes are not paid, depending on their demands.”

He said he did want to hear about any more employers violating the labor law, likewise workers going on strike.

“Industrial strikes must be the very last resort when the sides are at a deadlock in settling a dispute,” he said.

Indonesia is enacting the Labor Law No. 13/2003 and the Law No. 21/2000 on labor unions regulating industrial relations. the two laws are expected to create harmonious relations between the two parties.

Apindo chairman Sofjan Wanandi agreed with the minister, saying his organization was adopting a new strategy to improve ties with the labor unions for the sake of economic recovery.

“Apindo is determined to bridge the differences between employers and workers and to build better communication with labor unions both at tripartite meetings and bipartite negotiations,” Sofjan said.

Chairman of the Confederation of Indonesian Prosperous Labor Unions (KSBSI) Rekson Silaban denied accusations that workers were to blame for the discouragement of foreign investors.

Citing a 2002 survey conducted by the World Business Organization, he said worker productivity concerns ranked 7th after terrorism, security, high-cost economy, legal uncertainty and others as the reasons for poor foreign investment in the country.

Chairman of the Korean Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia C.K. Song countered Rekson’s statement, saying that for Korean businessmen, who mostly invest in labor-intensive businesses, industrial strikes were of serious concern because of the economic impacts associated with the down time during the disputes.

“Industrial strikes cause great losses to employers and workers. Employers’ machines do not operate and production ceases temporarily and we cannot meet our delivery orders overseas.” he said.

Song said some the 800 Korean businessmen in Indonesia were “stubborn” but they mostly liked Indonesian workers and always complied with the laws in doing business here.

“To us, workers are a main asset and partner we have to feed off one another and Indonesians are relatively better than workers in China and Vietnam. Workers, however, should treat investors as kings who care about their social welfare,” he said.

ILO deputy director in Indonesia Peter Rademaker called on employers and labor unions to seek a win-win situation and promote more jobs for the young generation now that unemployment had reached an alarming level.

“Both sides have to win the situation together. Amid the growing economy, Indonesia has to be able to create many more new jobs for the jobless,” he said.

Full unemployment this year is expected to reach around 15 million of the 100 million work force while the number of people working less than 35 hours a week is estimated at over 40 million.

Sumber :  (Ridwan Max Sijabat) The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

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