Unions: “Job Creation Law a detrimental labor law”

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Cross-Factory Labor Federation (Federasi Buruh Lintas Pabrik – “FBLP”) Labor Unions’ virtual press conference, Monday (13/10/2020). (Photo: Dani Ramdani/IO)

IO – The validation of the Job Creation Law on 5 October is a threat to the hopes of Labor Unions who are fighting for their rights lawfully. It has not been even two years since the Labor Desk was established by the Police, but it is already blunted with the validation of the Job Creation Law (Omnibus Law) that eliminates criminal sanctions for violations of labor laws. Victims who have been seeking justice for violation of labor rights are getting further and further from the light of justice, while their numbers continue to increase. 

Head of the Cross-Factory Labor Federation (Federasi Buruh Lintas Pabrik – “FBLP”) Labor Union Agus Decca reported that the PT Pahala Kencana Labor Union, made up of workers of the Pahala Express delivery service located in Jati Asih in Bekasi, in Tangerang, in Jakarta, and in Bandung, continue to fight for rights that the Company has neglected to allow them. The most obvious one that remains unresolved for quite a long time is their politics of providing wages below the level set by the Governor of West Java. 

PT Pahala Kencana is a huge bus operating company belonging to Sendy Tedjo Kusumo and his family. It was established in 1969. Other than transportation, the Company established PT Pahala Express as its delivery service subsidiary in 2007. The two companies employ thousands of workers to operate its many armadas. “The welfare of workers, which they should have prioritized in order to ensure better work performance, is ignored by them. In fact, PT Pahala Kencana seems to act in ways that show their unwillingness to have a Labor Union in their midst, by transferring employees and providing them with insufficient wages and benefits in the new locale. In truth, workers will not oppose being transferred if the Company takes care of their rights properly at the new site,” Decca said, himself a victim of unilateral transfer to Yogyakarta without suitable adjustments, despite the pandemic. 

After they transferred away the leaders of the FBLP Labor Unions, the Company went on to attempt to induce severance by providing bad transfer conditions so that the workers would be forced resign in desperation. “PT Pahala Kencana as the entrepreneur should have resolved existing unsolved cases of Minimum Wage violations according to the regulations of the Regency of West Java, cases of only 25% of 2020 Religious Benefits being paid up, and other cases already being reviewed at the Labor Office of Bekasi Township, instead of adding new cases. The Company doesn’t seem to care that disputes are still continuing,” Decca stated in a virtual press conference on Monday (13/10/2020). 

Existing cases being reviewed at the Labor Office include mediation for the remaining of unpaid wages and unfair severance, which includes mediation for position transfer and order to work at home that end up unfair severance. Decca stated that the validation of the Job Creation Law weakens workers and strengthens the corporation. “Even now existing criminal labor cases are not resolved, but the Company continues to perform labor-related violations. The validation of the Job Creation Law will become a detriment to labor law enforcement,” he said. 

Lydia Yuliani is another former PT Pahala Kencana employee who was dismissed from her work when she became pregnant. This is a clear violation of the Labor Law. She reported her case in May 2020, but the Company refused to properly mediate and resolve the case. “A Director of PT Pahala Kencana asked to meet me to resolve the case, but he insisted that I come alone without any accompaniment from my Union. Naturally, the meeting never occurred,” she said. 

The Workers’ Union has reported labor law violations to Unit II Environmental Resources (Sumber Daya Lingkungan Hidup – “Sumdaling”) of the local police, and they are currently requesting criminal law experts from University of Indonesia and Provincial Regional Monitoring Office of Level II Region of West Java. “We will continue to monitor the labor law cases in terms of the Police performance in labor-related crimes. We are taking this opportunity to tell our fellow laborers and workers to never fear and never back down, to never stop monitoring the entire process. Results never betray a strong, consistent process,” Decca said. (dan)