During Covid-19 pandemic, the workers did not stop taking actions and prepare themselves to demand the AICE workers’ rights and refuse Omnibus Bill (“job creation” bill is a profit creation bill actually).
On June 14th, the workers held a mass meeting in Meikarta regency, South Cikarang, to maintain the fire of resistance in the pandemic time. This meeting was attended by around 100 workers who were determined not to give up despite facing the job cuts and flexible labor market. The Indonesian government still did not allow crowd, including demonstration or rally, but to the workers, the demonstration is the strong weapon to fight for and champion the workers’ demands.
On June 28th, hundreds of FSEDAR workers once again held a mass meeting at Sisilia building, Telajung, Cikarang Sub District, Bekasi, to prepare themselves taking a demonstration against AICE employer and Omnibus bill. The AICE workers’ rights were violated and sacked of jobs, which will get worse if the Omnibus bill are passed. Therefore, the one of the main program is taking actions of refusing Omnibus bill.
Social media were becoming a tool to raise the workers’ demands in the pandemic time. The workers have gained to raise #BoikotAice as trending three times on Twitter and lifted the refusal of Omnibus bill issue. The struggle of defending AICE workers was combined with the struggle of Omnibus bill refusal.
Then, the workers performed a protest action for the workers of AICE dismissal and refused Omnibus Bill, Sunday, July 5th, 2020, in front of Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa / PKB (National Awakening Party) office, Singapore Embassy and Ministry of Manpower.
The similiar demonstration also was held in front of AICE Distributor, PT. Cakrawala Samudra Biru (company), in South Ternate, North Maluku province by a dozen students. They expressed solidarity to AICE Workers and refused Omnibus Bill legalisation.
“Omnibus Bill is a form of government in favor of investors,” said a student. They also called for striking of eating Aice ice cream until the workers’ demands are fulfilled.
Around 500 AICE workers were sacked after went on strike on February 21st, because of wages problem and more than 20 fetal death cases in the AICE factory of Cikarang. Even though the strike had ended on May 5th, the employer of AICE refused the workers to return to work.
The workers protested the wages for not complying with Wages Regulation, the workers were hired on night shift, more than 20 cases of fetal deaths, the workers’s bonus were paid with blank cheque, ammonia leaked, contractual and outsource workers working conditions and menstrual leave cannot be obtained.
If the Omnibus Law is passed, it can be ensured the working conditions at AICE will be legal according to the Law, which will be sacrifice the workers. To the workers, the AICE workers’ struggle is the symbol of the Omnibus Bill refusal. The working conditions of AICE workers are the real evidence of Omnibus Law will worsen the working conditions of Indonesian workers.
AICE is an ice cream company headquartered in Singapore, but its capital and two of three directors are from China. That’s why the workers targeted the Singapore Embassy for protesting. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Manpower was considered to be unable solving the workers’ problems. The National Awakening Party was asked their responsibility because the Minister of Manpower has been from this party since 2005.
The following day, hashtag #BoikotAice got trending on Twitter, proving that workers’ demands still got public support, even though AICE is increasingly advertised, using influencers and celebrities, and corporate BuzzeRp.