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Pancasila Youth cooperate with police to harass striking workers

Solidarity Net - January 20, 2015

Fariansyah Bagenda, Bekasi – A protest action by striking workers from the company PT Metindo Erasakti which are affiliated with the Fraternity of Indonesian Muslim Workers  (PPMI) was blocked by members of the Pancasila Youth (PP) on Thursday January 15.

According to Solidarity Net's observations on the ground, scores of PP members and police were gathered along the length of a lane leading towards the factory in Narogong, Bekasi city.

The workers were holding the protest action because of the company's policy of refusing to acknowledge the PPMI as a trade union. Moreover, the company accuses the PPMI as being an organisation that is part of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Yet Law Number 21/2000 on Trade Unions guarantees workers the freedom to form and join trade unions.

When contacted on Saturday January 17, the chairperson of the PPMI's Karawang branch, Daeng Wahidin, said that they are not afraid of mass organisations (ormas) or non-government organisations (LSM) that are providing protection to the company.

"Previously, they (the Pancasila Youth – Ed) said they would support us, but later on the ground they defected to the company. But we had already anticipated this. It happens a lot", he said.

According to Wahidin, mass organisations and LSMs often intentionally encourage workers to strike or protest with promises of helping the workers' struggle in order that they are given "security service jobs" with the company.

"It's not impossible that a person will put their life on the line for a wage of just 150,000 rupiah [a month] to defend a company. So as long as we are in the right, we will continue to fight. All of the strikes and protests that we have held are in accordance with the law. If they are broken up, it means [they] broke the law. If anything happens, it is the police that are liable", he said referring to the money given by companies to company paid mass organisations.

The PP is a para-military organisation that that has sprung up again after being shown in two Joshua Oppenheimer films, Jagal (The Act of Killing) and Senyap (The Look of Silence).

In both films PP is seen taking part in the 1965 slaughter of communists in parts of North Sumatra. In Indonesia as whole, as many as 1 million people were killed, tens of thousands interned without trial and 10 of millions lost their political rights. The largest labour organisation at the time, the All Indonesian Central Labour Organisation (SOBSI) which was established on November 29, 1946, was also disbanded.

These days, workers are familiar with the PP often being used as a tool by employers to oppress workers. On October 31, 2013, when workers were holding a national strike to demand their rights, they were attacked by PP and other mass organisations. As many as 17 workers were injured, four of which were stabbed in the back, five slashed, one suffered serious injuries to their arm and seven other were beaten with iron and wood bars.

This does not yet include the many cases of PP acting as "security personnel" at factories, something that has become a public secret.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Pemuda Pancasila Hadang Aksi Buruh PT Metindo.]

Source: http://solidaritas.net/2015/01/pemuda-pancasila-hadang-aksi-buruh.html.

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