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Sritex wins order from NATO

Jakarta Post - March 4, 1997

Jakarta – Central Java textile maker PT Sritex has won a Rp 2 5 billion (US$10.87 million) contract to make 500,000 military uniforms for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) starting this year, a company executive said.

Sritex president Mohammad Lukminto said that during the first stage his company would make standard military uniforms for Germany. "After this, we hope we will get more orders from other NATO-member countries, " he said. Lukminto said it took two years to win the order and German military officials made several site inspections to check the company's production facilities, product quality, labor conditions, waste treatment shipment procedures and other things.

Lukminto said Sritex would have no trouble meeting NATO's uniform requirements and said there would be a German representative posted here to ensure quality control. Lukminto said raw material for the uniforms would be imported from Germany. In the first stage Sritex w~ll make 500,000 uniforms worth Rp 25 billion. So far three containers of these uniforms have been shipped to Germany.

Sritex vice president Pramono said Sritex would soon make trousers and jackets to go with the uniforms in a separate contract yet to be signed. Sritex is in Central Java's Sukohajo regency, near Solo. The company, which was founded 30 years ago, employs about 12,000 workers and exports to America, Europe, Africa and Asia. (pwn)

From G.J. Aditjondro, 1994. In the shadow of Mount Ramelau: the impact of the occupation of East Timor. Leiden: INDOC (Indonesian Documentation & Information Centre), p. 49.

...from the seventy East Timorese girls who had initially been recruited by the Sritex textile factory in Sukoharjo, north of the city of Solo, Central Java, only thirty have remained there. More than half of them have returned home on their own account. While those who remain earn a monthly salary of Rp 44,950.

Let us describe Sritex, since this is the first Indonesian industry to benefit from the Indonesia-Portugal "reconciliation" moves of Mbak Tutut and her industrialist colleagues in Portugal. On February 14, 1994, the first shipment of fifteen tons of cotton yarn from Sritex were cleared by the customs at the Port of Leixoes in Portugal. It was ordered by Manuel Joaquim Rodrigues Macedo, a Portuguese businessman who heads the Indonesia-Portuguese Friendship Association. The raw material was to be turned into cloth for making, among other things, shirts and sheets in Macedo's textile factory in Ermesindo (Diario de Noticias, February 16, 1994; Pos Kupang, February 21, 1994).This shipment of Indonesian cotton-yarn immediately attracted the media's attention in Portugal. The shipment appeared to be a denial of the Portuguese government's appeal to Portuguese business people and consumers to boycott Indonesian-made products. However, it is not only the Portuguese people and government who have something to say about Macedo's Indonesian business partner. In Indonesia this factory has also attracted the media's attention for other negative aspects. First, this factory was suspected by a critical parliamentarian, Sri Bintang Pamungkas, of having misused a large number of government bank credit (Bernas and Jawa Pos, March 3, 1994).

Then, after having inspected by members of the Indonesian parliament, it was found out that only one third of the 12,000 labourers were covered by the government's workers insurance Astek. Apart from this, there were still workers who received daily wages of Rp 1,600, far below Central Java's required minimum daily wage of Rp 2,600 (Bernas and Surya, April 6, I994). And finally, Central Java governor Soewardi criticised Sritex for its poor waste control system and its lack of participation in alleviating the poverty of the surrounding communities (Bernas and Kedaulatan Rakyat, May 17, 1994).

This is the company-profile of Indonesia's first cotton-yarn exporter to Portugal and one of Indonesia's 100 largest conglomerates with 0.5 trillion worth of assets (Economic & Business Review Indonesia, April 23, 1994: 11), which employs 30 young East Timorese women. Maybe other Indonesian firms will follow this company's example in trading with Portuguese firms.