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PT RSI workers complain to parliament and Komnas HAM

Republika - April 8, 1997

Surabaya – A strike by around 2,000 workers from PT Ria Star Indonesia (RSI) Surabaya [East Java] followed a confrontation with security forces. As a result, 11 people suffered serious wounds to the head, stomach and chest, legs and arms because they were beaten by security personnel.

The violent actions by security personnel, also caused two worker to fall unconscious. Yesterday (7/4), around 100 representatives complained to the local Parliament of East Java and the National Human Rights Commission.

In their complaint, the workers also asked after the fate of Ido (23) who was detained by the local police. "We have also been prohibited from visiting Ido", said a worker.

The strike action was continued on Wednesday (2/5) last week. They demanded transport and food allowance which were provided before the increase in the regional minimum wage based upon the length of time they had worked.

The battle between workers and security forces began when the strike entered it's forth day on Saturday (5/4). Since morning, the strike had been restricted to the factory grounds but then it spilled out to the main streets. As a result traffic along Jl Kalirungkut was blocked.

In the report to the local Parliament and the National Human Rights Commission, the workers mentioned four who were abused: Waluyo, Joko Leluno, Zaenuri and Didik. Of the four, most of them were women.

PT RSI until yesterday was still unable to continue production and gave a final limit to worker to return to work by Monday (7/4).

[Abridged translation from Republika. It is worth noting that although this "confrontation" is far more violent than other recent cases, over the last two weeks there has been a significant increase in the number of strike actions reported in the Indonesian media. In most cases this has been over the failure of companies to pay the government's 10% minimum wage increase announced last year which now coming into effect. Some 129 companies recently sought official exception from the new wage levels - James Balowski]