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Mass layoffs continue, official reports underestimate real figures

Kompas - January 10, 2009

Palembang – The impact of the global crisis continues to claim victims around the country as more workers are laid off. In South Sumatra for example, between mid 2008 and early 2009 as many as 2,000 workers have been sent home (temporarily laid off) or dismissed.

Dismissals in far greater numbers were previously reported to have occurred in West Java. Since November 2008, were more then 20,000 people have lost their jobs in the province. In Central Java, 3,441 workers from 31 companies were dismissed in 2008.

Speaking with journalists in Palembang on Friday January 9, South Sumatra Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) chairperson Ahmad Rizal said that out of these 2,000 dismissed workers, 90 percent were “sent home” while the remainder were dismissed.

“In early 2009, we again received a report from PT Musi Plasindo, which has already sent more then 30 percent of is casual labour force home. The case is currently being handle by tripartite [negotiations]”, said Rizal.

As of early December 2008, the number of South Sumatran workers who have been sent home or dismissed was recorded at 1,000 people. By early 2009 this had risen to 2,000.

Not reporting

Rizal warned that these totals are only based upon official reports provided to the South Sumatra Kadin office. “If seen from the real situation on the ground, it’s estimated to be much higher. Moreover many companies are not prepared to report when they carry out dismissals or send employees home”, he said.

Speaking separately, the head of the statistical and distribution division of the South Sumatra National Statistics Agency (BPS), Nazaruddin Latief announced that the number of job seekers in South Sumatra in 2008 reach 3.4 million people. This total has risen sharply by as many as 17,701 people compared with the previous year.

Speaking in the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang on Friday, All Indonesia Trade Union (SBSI) regional coordinator Suwarto warned that companies carrying out dismissals as a consequence of being hit by the global crisis should not do so unilaterally. Before there are any dismissals, the company needs to discuss the matter first with employees.

“So that workers also know if in fact that the state of the company is such that it is cannot [employ them]. Don’t let the global crisis be used as grounds to dismiss workers”, said Suwarto in response to dismissals that have taken place in Central Java in 2008.

Because of this therefore, Suwarto appealed to workers to supervise dismissals that are undertaken by companies. (oni/gre/ilo)


Workers who are “sent home” or temporarily laid off still receive their basic monthly salaries and may be summoned back to work once the company's finances improve.

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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