Labour strikes force Indonesia's plastics units to shut

03 October 2012 12:19  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Massive labour strikes in Indonesia on Wednesday forced the shutdown of a number of the country’s plastics factories in key manufacturing bases such as Jakarta and Cikrarang, industry sources said.

Factory workers took to the streets in response to call by the Confederation of All Indonesian Workers' Union for a nationwide labour protest, they said.

The local union is demanding that the government revises the labour law to stop employers from hiring contract workers, and to raise the minimum wage to $350 (€270) per month, said a source at a plastics bottle and cap manufacturing company.

The minimum wage varies across the country – ranging from $130 to $200 per month, according to a local plastics processor.

A lot of Indonesian employers have been hiring contract workers over long periods of time as it translates to lower cost, since no compensation is required when the contracts are terminated, said the source at the plastics bottle and cap manufacturing company.

It is unrealistic to demand that employers hire all their workers on a full-time basis because different jobs require different types of workers, said a manufacturer of flexible packaging material.

“We hire contract workers to sort out off-grade products that we make. We cannot hire full-time workers for this task because we don’t always make off-grade products,” he said.

To resolve the labour issues, the Indonesian government should introduce more consistent and fair regulations, and be disciplined in their implementation, according to the local plastics processors.

The strikes are expected to end on late Wednesday in Indonesia, the plastics processors said.

“We should be able to resume production in our third shift, which starts at around 9pm (14:00 GMT),” the source at the plastics bottle and cap manufacturing company.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Chow Bee Lin
+65 6780 4359

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