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Okt '06

Thousands denied holiday bonus

Thousands of low-paid workers may miss out on returning home for Idul Fitri because their companies are too broke to pay them their holiday allowances.

In one case, over 13,000 of employees in West Java are also owed four months’ wages as the textile company they work for is on the edge of bankruptcy.

Labor union leaders said Friday they had received reports of 14 companies which were yet to pay the holiday allowances of more than 30,000 workers in various industrial areas in Java. They said they believed the actual numbers were much higher because many workers were afraid of reporting the situation for fear of dismissal.

The National Trade Union reported that a textile factory in Tangerang is yet to pay the allowances and wages of its 13,000 workers, while another factory in Bekasi paid allowances to its 12,000 employees that were less than that agreed to in their work contracts.

The Confederation of Indonesian Prosperous Labor Unions (KSBSI) said it had received reports from across Java of violations of the 1999 Manpower and Transmigration Ministry Decree on holiday allowances.

More than 800 state-owned transportation company workers in Jakarta have also not received their holiday allowances yet, KSBSI Chairman Rekson Silaban told The Jakarta Post by phone from Brussels.

The ministerial decree requires companies to pay their workers a holiday allowance amounting to one month’s wage, which they should receive no later than a week ahead of the holiday. Muslim workers receive the allowance at Idul Fitri while Christians get their bonus at Christmas. Financially troubled companies are exempted from the obligation as long as the problem is proven by an independent audit.

The deputy Chairman of the Confederation of All-Indonesian Workers Union (KSPSI), Sjukur Sarto, said a joint team from KSPSI and the government had persuaded financially troubled companies to comply with the ministerial decree.

“Many companies in Jakarta and its outskirts, mostly textile and shoe factories, have reported their inability to pay the holiday allowances because they are facing financial difficulties,” he said.

The Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation said it had received complaints from the workers of four companies that they had not received their annual bonuses.

Nurkholis Hidayat, a lawyer with the foundation, said he mediated in a labor dispute involving four Greater Jakarta companies that had not paid annual bonuses to 181 workers for various reasons.

Yudiharto Salim, president director of Panca Brothers Swakarsa, one of the four companies, refused to comment. He said the case had been handled by Tangerang’s manpower office.

The Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo) said it had proposed an exemption from the regulation for more than 40 labor-intensive companies in Java, but there had been no response from the government.

“Both the government and workers or labor unions should understand the current conditions, which are more difficult than they were last year,” said Apindo secretary general Djimanto.

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

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