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Jul '06

Planned amendment of labor law deadlocked

The planned review of the 2003 Law on Labor is in limbo as a series of meetings between employers and unions has reached deadlock over contentious issues.

Major labor unions involved in the meetings confirmed they and the employers failed to find common ground because unionists were opposed to numerous key aspects of the bill.

Chairman of the Confederation of Indonesia Prosperous Trade Union (KSBSI) Rekson Silaban lamented the deadlock and blamed it on unionists.

He accused them of exploiting workers to fight for their own interests.

“KSBSI could not give any concessions to employers and the government because other major labor unions have opposed the revisions or have no strategy on the plan,” he told The Jakarta Post here Wednesday.

Rekson said the recent deaths of influential unionists Suparman and Rustam Aksam and the illness of Jacob Nuwa Wea, chairman of the Confederation of All-Indonesian Workers Unions (KSPSI), have contributed to the deadlock.

“Following Rustam’s leadership, the Indonesian Confederation of Trade Unions (ICTU) under Bambang Wirahyoso has demanded the liquidation of the National Tripartite Forum (on labor issues) while all the unions in the KSPSI have been divided over the concept of the revisions,” he said.

Deputy KSPSI leader Syukur Sarto said his group would not take part in negotiations with employers until police released eight unionists who were detained in the May rallies against the proposed revisions, which turned violent.

The discussions were arranged after labor unions came out strongly against the revisions. The large, sometimes unruly demonstrations prompted President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to appoint five state universities to assess the law.

Revising the Law on Labor was among the measures included in a presidential decree aimed at repairing the country’s investment climate.

Workers opposed the government’s proposed revisions, saying they would create labor insecurity and uncertainty.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo), Djimanto, asked the government to issue a regulation on severance payments for dismissed workers.

“Employers have no objection to providing severance payments for dismissed low-income workers according to the existing law, but it is not fair to give the same treatment to those with higher positions,” he argued.

Chapter 156 of the 2003 law recommends the government issue a regulation to ensure wise and fair treatment of workers in accordance with their wage classifications.

If the government refused to issue such a regulation, Djimanto said, Apindo would lobby the House of Representatives to speed up revision of the social security law, so that state-owned insurance firm PT Jamsostek could introduce an additional severance payment scheme.

The proposed reform of the social security program has won support from major labor unions.

Djimanto said workers had no choice but accept one contentious issue, outsourcing, because it has become a global trend.

“Many multinational corporations have outsourced some of their work to domestic companies, which later subcontract part of it to local professionals and home industries,” he said.

Djimanto said employers would likely hire more contract-based workers as a last resort if the labor unions insisted on rejecting Apindo’s proposed revisions.

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

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