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Employers say foreigners provoking strikes to weaken Indonesian economy

Berita Satu - July 16, 2013

Jakarta Ė Labour observer Professor Dr. Payaman Simanjuntak has warned that a number of trade unions in Indonesia are being provoked by international trade unions, primarily from European countries and the United States, to challenge employers and the government by means of strikes.

Their aim, is so that Indonesia's economic competitiveness trails behind the economies in their own countries. "Our workers however are not aware of such things", said Simanjuntak when speaking with Berita Satu on Tuesday July 16.

Yet, according to Simanjuntak, workers in Europe and the US, including other industrialised countries have abandoned strikes as a means to struggle for their welfare. Workers in these countries have in fact moved closer to employers by means of dialogue and provided positive contributions to employers so that their economies continue to grow and their competitiveness improves.

Simanjuntak also agrees that a number of trade unions in Indonesia are not purely struggling for workers' interests but mobilising workers for political interests. "I don't want to say who or which trade unions are affiliated with certain political parties, but I want to emphasise that most of our labour movement is being used for political interests", he said.

Simanjuntak reminded workers to be critical of their leaders who only mobilise workers for their own interests. "Workers must be aware, the bigger and more often there are strikes Indonesia's economic competitiveness will in fact stall, even loose ground", he said.

A similar view was expressed by Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) Secretary General Suryadi Sasmita who said that for some time Apindo has got wind of provocation by foreign workers.

"It could well be that there are other foreign state intelligence (agencies) who don't want Indonesia's economy to move forward have infiltrated our workers by introducing themselves as trade union officials from their countries so that our workers trust them. Whereas their aim is to bring down Indonesia", he explained.

Sasmita was unwilling to elaborate further on which Indonesian trade union leaders or their specific political affiliations. "I don't want to get into that, of course I know, but I don't want to elaborate, let alone mention people's names or trade unions. I just want to say that our workers' struggle is being taken advantage of by political interests", he said.

According to Sasmita, compared with other countries such as China, Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong and others, Indonesian workers in fact enjoy special rights, namely a 40-hour working week, which in China and other countries it can be as much as 48 hours per week. In China and other countries there are no holiday bonuses like Indonesia. Meanwhile severance pay in Indonesia is the highest in the world, equivalent to 32 month's wage. "In other countries it's not a high as that", he said.

In addition to this, he said, in other countries, particularly industrialised countries, outsourcing employment systems are also in effect. "Why are Indonesian workers against this? It's odd", he said. Aside from this, compared with other countries Indonesian workers' productivity is low. Simanjuntak and Sasmita are urging the government to take firm action against workers who only seeking to destroy Indonesia's economy.

[Pengamat: Buruh Indonesia Diprovokasi Buruh Asing - Beritasatu.com. Selasa, 16 Juli 2013. Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft news service./font>.]

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