Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Indonesian trade unionists out in force

Well isn’t this a glorious sight!? Tens of thousands of Indonesian workers marched to foreign embassies to demand better working conditions from the large number of multinational corporations operating in the country. These include mega-outfits like General Electric, General Motors, Intel, Samsung, & international finance companies like HSBC, AXA, Citibank. Indonesia (along with Thailand) is one of the two largest & fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia. Indonesian trade unions have campaigned & protested several times since July of this year over the issues of wages, working & safety conditions, outsourcing to avoid labor laws, & benefits like pensions & healthcare. Most workers termed unskilled & semi-skilled earn less than $US200 a month--in other words, chump change.

In October, more than 2 million workers from 700 companies held a one-day work stoppage at 80 industrial sites in 24 cities. Labor unions around the world will have to get beyond this one-day strike limit & shut the damn planet down until justice is served. The US labor movement is now divided into two warring factions, neither of which does much except participate in electoral idiocies. But US workers have a proud history of struggle against labor injustice. Seeing these Indonesian brothers & sisters kick ass may inspire an end to the over-long period of relative labor passivity.  (Photo from Wall Street Journal)

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