Problem Statement: Labour Disputes of PT. AFI and PT. AFI Labour Union (SGBBI)

Problem Statement: This document disclose notions of labour disputes based on the analysis of specific documents, reports, research, monitoring and existing labour laws. Problems that are defined in this document arise as disagreements between PT Alpen Food Industry (PT. AFI, AICE ice cream manufacturer) and its labour union, Serikat Gerakan Buruh Bumi Indonesia PT Alpen Food Industry (SGBBI PT. AFI, the Labour Movement Union of Indonesian Land). This statement is produced by Federasi Serikat Buruh Demokratik Kerakyatan (F-SEDAR, Federation of Popular Democratic Labour Union) as a labour confederation which appertain SGBBI as one of its members.

Pay Cuts

In 2017, PT. AFI has undercut the workers’ salaries by IDR 280 thousand, as referred to 2019 minimum wage. This cut was a result due to changes in raw material, from KBLI 1520 (dairy based food) which PT. AFI used from 2014-2016, to ice cream KBLI which was used in 2017. As the result, the workers’ pay reduced, by changing the policy standards they were comply to, from sector II minimum wage to district’s minimum wage (UMK).

Since 2018, these workers have been asking for additional pay, yet implementations lags behind. Every year, the ice cream manufacturer merely increases their workers’ salary by only IDR 5 thousand. And since 2019, workers got district’s standardized minimum wage plus IDR 10 thousand, every month. This condition has been going on until now, with no improvement.

As stipulated in Articles 14, 42 and 43 of Government Regulation Number 78 of 2015 of Remuneration, minimum wage was designed for workers with no dependents (Article 43) and as for workers with more than a year work period, should be negotiated further bipartitely (Article 42). On establishing the amount, structure and scale of the wages, the standard would be based on the working class or group, job tittle, and work period, level of education, skills and competencies (Article 14).

Despite the Labour Code, in the negotiation development, the company was only wiling to evaluate the workers’ wages based on the worker’s working group. The valuation is IDR 30 thousand, times work group level. Meanwhile, on how much time the workers have been working for the company, dedicated their life for the company, PT. AFI only valuate work period with IDR 5 thousand per year. Furthermore, they only willing to valuate collegiate and bachelor’s degree on the educational level background, with no calculation whatsoever on skills and technical competencies. As a result, for most of the workers, whom are production operators, they merely got minuscule pay raise.

For PT. AFI workers, competencies (performance assessment) are extremely crucial, for this will boost productivity. Commonly, the workers’ performance assesses by calculating their attendance record on the previous year. Hence, the workers will be motivated to make an effort improving their attendance record. Ergo, in turn, they will be more productive for the company. However, on the other hand, workers with relatively favourable job titles regularly got a significant pay raise. This pay raise made them forgot about their performances. Instead of increasing productivity, they chase after title upgrades, by all means necessary.

We never ask for IDR 11-8 million pay raise, as the management accused us of. Instead, we even continuously lower our demands valuation. Our last formula was merely for the company to adjust the workers’ pay for the same amount before there was any pay cut that was caused by raw material changes in the first place. The only thing we were hoped for is merely an additional IDR 280-300 thousand above district’s minimum wage standard.

The company also stated that they have given the workers additional IDR 700 thousand per month, which was misguided and confounded. Because as a matter of fact, in realty, the IDR 700 thousand they were referred to is a mix of various assorted allowances, consist of IDR 15 thousand per day meal allowance (they don’t provide the workers with catering services in their factories), IDR 5 thousand per day transportation money, IDR 200 thousand attendance incentive (which was only given with the requirement of 100% attendance). And due to the rolling shift system and inadequate work condition, 100% attendance record has been extremely difficult to achieve. This situation exacerbated by target achievement pressure for production machinery operator workers. As the effect, attendance incentive can only be received by top level factories superiors and management body, for they didn’t deal with heavy machineries. Therefore they have the capacity to be able to maintain their health perfectly.

Work Mutation, Demotion and Disproportional Sanction

SGBBI who has been carrying out their monitoring function has undergoing involuntary mutation, even demotion since 2018. Even though as an independent union, this continuous monitoring function is crucial to assure improvements for AICE ice cream factories workers. Mostly, these workers mutated to heavier and less favourable positions, usually in production section. Some of them even demoted after they partook in strikes. Furthermore, the company didn’t care if the workers have some medical conditions, such as endometriosis that Miss ER have. She still mutated to various different positions in the production sections. This had exacerbated her medical condition, not to mention the payment reduction that was done to her.

It’s not that the workers refuse to do work orders, but at least the company should discuss this with the workers first, gave proper trainings, and issued a written, official job transfer letter, or any documents for that matter to based it on. Until now, the transfer, mutation, relocation and demotion always being done involuntary, without even have any hearing or discussion with the said worker whatsoever.

Another problem is warning letters, which were too easy to be handed out. These warning letters were handed out abruptly without proper preparement first, especially for SGBBI members. One of SGBBI leader got a level two warning letter; for he was refuse giving direct warning letters to workers. He clarified the regulation to his superior that some procedural step should be taken prior to giving a sanction, such as verbal admonition. As you can guess, his superior insisted to disregard this regulation. As a stance of refusal to continuously take oppressive measures against his subordinate, he decided to withdraw from his position as a leader.

In December 2019, 71 workers, who are our members, relocated to cone section of the production sector. Earlier, we refuse to accept it without a written official work order letter which should be received by each person. But finally, in the end, we just gave up and accepted the mutation. From that day, they have been working in the production section. Despite the surrender, the company was still handing out level 3 warning letters to these workers and then unfairly dismissed some of them. The ones that were dismissed unfairly replaced by inexperience outsourced workers from East Java.

The Difficulty for Taking a Leave

Initially, the procedure for taking a leave was easy. The workers only have to submit a leave form to their section leader before they took a leave, then when they came back into work, they have to submit doctor’s note from an external clinic (not a company’s health facility), which they paid for themselves. But since 2018, this procedure has changed one-sidedly. The workers have to personally administer the leave form. The doctor’s note which would be accepted has to be from a specific company’s health facility. The company mandatorily order the workers to administer the form themselves. The procedure is as follows:

  1. Fetch the form in the management office and sign the leave application
  2. Ask for your group leader signature
  3. Ask your supervisor to give his/her signature on the leave form
  4. Ask for your production manager or his/her assistant/translator signature
  5. Request for a signature from Human Resource Development department
  6. Deliver the complete leave form back to the management office

As you can imagine, this procedure has made operator workers, which only have free time when it’s their turn to take a lunch/dinner break or after they have done with their work shift. And most of the time, the relevant persons whom would have gave the signatures weren’t even in the factories, or weren’t in the same location as the workers. Additionally, the workers often interrogated with unfair questions, especially by managerial assistant or translator. Particularly for the ill workers, this has been exceptionally tough. These workers that were in the recovery conditions still have to deal with bureaucratically inconvenient procedure just to take a sick leave.

Furthermore, the company’s clinic and health facility extremely selective to hand out their doctor’s notes. Usually they just handed out ‘Treatment Annotation Letter’ which means that the workers judged as still fit to continue to work. The workers might rest in the locker room and could only come home if and only if they felt unbearable pain. In the locker room, the sick workers routinely inspected by the assistant production manager and interrogated inappropriate questions, even reprimanded for being ill.

Menstruation leave is especially difficult, almost impossible, to get. Menstruation seen as a disease and it has to go through the company’s clinic and has to attain doctor’s note to get the leave. These doctors in the company’s clinic usually didn’t want to give their note; they just gave the workers pain killer medication.

We can look at the case of Miss ER, who has Endometriosis, for an example on how workers don’t have a choice of treatment. Miss ER has repeatedly asking for menstruation leaves, but hasn’t been given once. As a consequence, in the end, Miss ER has to goes through a medical procedure and being operated in a hospital.

Pregnant Workers Have To Work Night Shifts

All through 2019, PT. AFI workers have suffered from 13 cases of miscarriages and 5 cases of prenatal infant deaths. And in 2020, these cases have been growing. Early this year, the statistic has gained one case of miscarriage and one case of prenatal infant death. This week, there has been one more case of miscarriages. According to our data, the total numbers of miscarriages are 21 cases.

We have submitted case report of the pregnant workers work condition to National Commission on the Elimination of Violence against Women, which content was as follows:

ALPEN FOOD INDUSTRY is an ice cream manufacturer that falls under food and beverage industry category. Brand name: AICE. Address: Selayar II Street, H Block, Telajung Number 10, West Cikarang, Bekasi, West Java, 17530, Indonesia.

The report is based on the work condition of pregnant workers in PT. ALPEN FOOD INDUSTRY. These women have the same work payload as normal, as they still have to work in shifts (1, 2 and 3), and with the same amount of production target. Additionally, the factories, where they work, are way below the acceptable level of appropriate environment for pregnant women.

Although PT. ALPEN FOOD INDUSTRY accommodates workers with health clinic in the factory area, yet the clinic is only providing its service for the first and second shifts, while on the third it closes. They also don’t have any ambulance prepared in their clinic.

Most workers who apply for menstruation leave didn’t get any. The ones that did get the leave have to go through excruciating examination in the clinic. And the ones that didn’t, although gone through the same examination, only given pain killer medication.

ALPEN FOOD INDUSTRY enforcing general work hours as follows:

Shift 1: 07.00 am ― 03.00 pm WIB (Western Indonesian Time / GMT+7)
Shift 2: 03.00 pm ― 11.00 pm WIB (Western Indonesian Time / GMT+7)
Shift 3: 11.00 pm ― 07.00 am WIB (Western Indonesian Time / GMT+7)

ALPEN FOOD INDUSTRY does not provide shuttle transportation for the workers who work in the third shift. And as a substitution, the company merely gave IDR 5,000 transport money per person per day.

ALPEN FOOD INDUSTRY only provides a 190 ml milk packet and a stuffed bread packet with less than IDR 5,000 valuation as an additional nutritional consumption for women who work in the third shift.

In order to impose a 24 hours non-stop machinery operating system, PT. ALPEN FOOD INDUSTRY enforcing a rolling system breaks hours. The working hours are as follows: the first hour break starts after the workers have worked for 2 hours. They get a one hour rest, and then continue to work until the end of their work hours. The second hour break starts after the workers have worked for 3 hours. They get a one hour rest, and then continue to work until the end of their work hours. The third hour break starts after the workers have worked for 4 hours. They get a one hour rest, and then continue to work until the end of their work hours. This rolling system has been enforced to all shifts: 1, 2 and 3.

Pregnant workers still have to achieve normal production target. They never got target alleviation, even though the pregnancy has been reported to the management body.

Pregnant workers still have to do heavy work activities such as lifting heavy objects and standing all day. The details are as follows:

  1. These were especially challenging for pregnant workers who operating packing machines. For operating a packing machine they need to stand for the entire working hours. And every 40 minutes they have to change the ice cream packaging in the packing machine by lifting up 12 kg of plastic roll, and install it into the machine. Another example is in the manual packing division. They have to manually arrange the ice cream one by one into boxes in standing position all day.
  2. In sanitation division, they have to sweep and mop up the floor with a rag, in a squat position, using a suffocating and nauseating chemically treated cleaning agent.
  3. In the statistics department, in the main team, the job is to stamp approximately 2200 cardboard packaging per day, to lift and unload approximately 11 boxes (13 kg per box) of ice cream stick per day, plus unloading 15 plastic roll (12 kg per roll) per day.
  4. Another example, in the corn packing machine operator division, the machine has to be oiled and heated, which generates a thick fog. And because the machines are in the basement with inadequate ventilation, they have no choice to inhale it every day. From the start to the end of their work hours they have to be in the bend over seated position in the period of 30 minutes per box. Then they have to move boxes of corn by lifting the box, which have the weight of 2 kg per box, from one place to another. Their production target is 13 boxes per day.
  5. Pregnant workers have been asking repeatedly to be moved to a lighter workload positions, but the feedback has been unresponsive. They have to wait for weeks for other pregnant workers in that designated position has been away on maternity leave. And to be moved to a non-shift position, they have to have a gynaecologist note, saying that they have an abnormal pregnancy.

Furthermore, before they took maternity leave, workers asked to submit a legally stamped written statement which release the company from any responsibility if undesirable conditions appears in the future, either to the pregnancy, the new-born or the employment status.

The written statement

Bonus Paid with Void Checks

At the strike in the end 2017, the company discriminated by giving IDR 1 million bonuses to the workers whom didn’t participate in the strike. To level the playing field, union workers demanded to be treated the same and to be given the same amount of bonuses. They demanded these bonuses through 2018. Then in 4 January 2019, a mutual consensus arose.  They agreed to give IDR 600 million for 600 union workers. This fund will be paid in checks which half of it can be liquefied after a year, and then the rest will be paid in instalments of IDR 25 million per month.

We accepted the offer as a consideration of the company’s predicament. And for the company has given us a check, as an act of goodwill we have overlooked in calculating the inflation factor. This check was given by Liliana Gao, one of PT. AFI’s Director (in 2018), as AICE Distributor Committee. Yet evidently, when we tried to liquefy the check in 5 January 2020, the receipt number wasn’t even registered. We tried to confirm it to the company, but they said that the payer company has closed down. Can you imagine? We have waited for a year, ignore the inflation, turns out what we got was a void check!

Contract Labour

AFI employs 22 of our members as contract labours, which we regard as a misconduct and violation of Article 59 of Law No. 13 of 2003 on Manpower (Indonesia Employment and Labour Laws and Regulations) and Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Regulation No. 100 of 2004, for workers who employed in the production section have the same nature and attribute as a permanent employee.

The workers, which most of them comes from East Java, recruited by employment agents (or merchants of labour who moves workers over borders, as it was defined by ILO―ILO Convention 97 of 1949 as stipulated in Merchants of Labour: Agents of the Evolving Migration Infrastructure by International Institute of Labour Studies) with the promise of permanent employment within 6 months. The agents required a costly fee of IDR 4-5 million.

This case is in the process of corporate dispute mediation, which the company, who have been summoned two times, never attended.

Sanction and employment termination for members whom participated in Dec 2019 strike

The company consider our strike in December as unauthorized and illegitimate, yet there hasn’t been a verdict by the court saying it so. The workers who participate in the strike got a level 1 warning letters. Accumulated with previous transgressions and offenses, 10 workers got involuntary unpaid leave orders, aimed towards employment termination.

The company’s excuse was that the negotiation is far from a deadlock status, even though it has been dragged on for more than 30 days with 5 times of unresolved negotiations. The company have misconception on what the phrase ‘deadlock’ means. We have plainly stated in legal statements which we handed over to the company’s representatives, as it was stipulated in Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Regulation No. 232 of 2004 and Law No. 2 of 2002 on State Police and Police Use of Force, ‘deadlock’ defined as a condition which resulted from disagreements unresolvable negotiation.

Furthermore, we only did the strike for three working days. And as stipulated in Article 144 of Labour Laws that strikes which comply with the regulation specifications of Article 140 of Labour Laws cannot be subjected to internal corporate punishments and retaliations. We have fulfilled all the procedure which contained in the Article 140. Including gave a notification letter to Manpower and Transmigration Office (Municipal Representative of the Manpower Ministry) and PT. AFI, seven working days before the strike. Even the notification letter has conformed according to the Article 140’s format.

The outsourcing workers conditions

As replacements for workers whom have been terminated, PT. AFI brought in outsourcing workers from East Java. These workers have been sheltered in a housing situation with 40 people capacity per house. The condition of these houses is excessively inappropriate for an employee dormitory. Could you imagine? 40 workers cramped in a 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom house with poor substandard meals.

Other than that, the utilization of outsourced workers (resource diversion) is a violation of Article 65 and 66 of Labour Laws and Ministry of Manpower Regulation Number 19 of 2012 which stated that resource diversion is allowed if and only if they utilized in the supporting role and. Yet in fact, Outsourced workers have been employed in the main production section, working with a major employee’s target and workload.

Efforts that has been done

In the wage dilemma, we have repeatedly gone through 5 bipartite negotiations. The first one was in 15 October 2019, then again in 29 October 2019, the next one was over in 05 November 2019, the fourth time was in 21 November 2019, and the last one was in 29 November 2019. For the exhaustive negotiations that we were doing couldn’t resulted in agreeable consensus, thus in 20, 21 and 23 December 2019 we were compelled to hold a strike.

As stipulated in the Article 144 Laws Number 12 of 2003 of Labour Laws, to Manpower and Transmigration Office (Municipal Representative of the Manpower Ministry) facilitated the negotiation between both parties. However, we only gone through one negotiation before the Manpower and Transmigration Office diverted it to mediation as the company requested. Thus when we received the mediation order letter from the Manpower and Transmigration Office, we respond with a demand letter, questioning the legal basis to clarify the mediation diversion.

First of all, we were questioning the foundation as to why if the process, which regulated in the Article 141 of Labour laws, was far from concluded, the Manpower and Transmigration Office has already divert it to mediation, which constituted in Laws Number 2 of 2004 of Labour Laws. Besides, we, the workers were the first one to submit the strike notice.

Second, we were questioning the period of time, which the mediation will transpire. Is it true that the mediation will drag on for a year? Yet the Government Regulations Number 78 of 2015, which regulate wage negotiation stipulated that it should be conducted bipartitely.

Moreover, our demand letter for legal basis explanation was never answered. Instead, the Manpower and Transmigration Office mediator issued a recommendation, which contained exactly the same position as the other party (PT. AFI). The mediator also lied, stated that there was never any discussion about bonus, even though in our documentation, the company offered bonuses for workers.

On normal offenses, including pregnant workers’ work conditions, we had reported it to the Supervisory Section of Manpower Ministry Sector II West Java Representative Office in November 2019. Yet the process lags behind. The supervisory action was only being taken not until 17 February 2020. We refuse to acknowledge Monang Sihotang as the supervisory representative, for he had a suspicious and an unfair track record. In 2018, in a fixed-term employment agreement case against PT. Nanbu Plastics Indonesia, he issued a supervisory note which took side with the corporate party, only to be annulled later by the Provincial Supervisory Section.

We had reported this problem to the National Commission on Human Rights. They said that they will follow up immediately, yet they haven’t been realizing it until now. We also have reported it to the National Commission on the Elimination of Violence against Women. They have decreed recommendation, demanding PT. AFI to abide by the Labour Laws and the Bekasi Regency Regional Regulation Number 4 of 2016 of Labour and Manpower, to not allow pregnant workers to work the night shift.

We also had reported PT. AFi for criminal charges to the Bekasi District Police Precinct. The charges were for imposing pregnant women to work the night shift on the basis of Regional Regulation on Manpower and Labour. Yet it was denied exactly because of the basis is Regional regulation. We were advised to take the charges to Municipal Police Public Order Enforcer, also denied, we were again advised to take it to the police. As a last resort, we reported it to the Metro Jaya Regional Police, again, denied. They said that they have to discuss it internally first.

On the charge for sanctions that were imposed on the workers whom participated in strikes, we have reported it to Bekasi Police Precinct. The report was accepted. The problem is, the police always asking, in our clarifications, about the legality of our strikes. Even though Article 144 of Labour Laws clearly stated that the legality of the strike is inconsequential to a criminal acts and charges. It’s irrelevant.

Labour Laws only have one regulation on strike action, sanction can only be enforced only and only if the workers abandon their job responsibility more than five days. This situation also has one requirement, which is only if the court declares the strike as illegal, and only the court can proclaim this. Yet PT. AFI not only executed sanction to the workers over a three day strike, but also had administered pay cuts. Until today, the case is in the status of development in the Police Department. The next step for the case is preliminary hearing.

Demands!

Position statement: We, as Komite Solidaritas Perjuangan for AICE workers, stating that this atrocious work condition dispute in AICE ice cream factory can only be resolved with these demands fulfilment. Our demands are as follows:

  1. Employ pregnant workers in the day time, do not employ them at night, decrease the workload, and investigate on the increase of miscarriages and prenatal infant deaths!
  2. Menstrual leave should not be deterred and should be accessible with no requirements!
  3. Facilitate easier access to treatments and reference letter to BPJS Health Facilities, do not refuse to give reference letters, workers should be given freedom to choose their own treatment methods without the threat of unfavourable sanction!
  4. Abolish suspension and arbitrary one-sided termination of employment!
  5. Abolish unfair warning letters without proper procedure!
  6. Eliminate Articles in The Company Regulations which inconsistent and contradictory with Labour Laws and discuss and ratified a Contractual Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
  7. Abolish arbitrary and unfair work mutation and demotion!
  8. Stop inhumane treatment from superior to subordinate!
  9. Protect society and consumer from unhealthy products, for the products are suspected to be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria (microbe) and still being sold!
  10. Promote workers who work in permanent production section to permanent employees, reinstate workers whom have been unfairly terminated!
  11. Eliminate discrimination and suppression against union members!
  12. Pay bonus according to Contractual Bargaining Agreement (CBA), and do not defraud workers by giving them void checks and inactive checks!
  13. Increase the pay grade by fulfilling the criteria that have been specified according to Labour Laws and Contractual Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The criteria are as follows: amount difference of district’s minimum wage/sectorial district’s minimum wage, work class, job tittle, work period, level of education, skills and competencies, and familial support allowance!
  14. Establish the structure and the scale of the pay by first mutually defining the basic wage bipartitely, do not determine it one-sidedly!
  15. Terminate biased Manpower and Transmigration Office mediators who take sides!
  16. Incarcerate police officers who’s been non-neutrality and suspected of violating their Standard Operating Procedure!
  17. Incarcerate military officers who have been violating Military Standard Operating Procedure by entering the factory which intervene a civilian issue (business dispute)!
  18. Punish the management body who were obstructing and stalling the strike; and have been suspected of retaliation for the strike!
  19. Repair and renew production machineries and work facilities in several parts that are still manually operated. The reparation will decrease the heavy workload and resulting in hernia!
  20. The government should conduct an investigation of the suspicion of environmental pollution by disposing ammonia! Not to mention the suspicion of ammonia leakage!
  21. The government should do a proper inspection on the notion of Occupational Health and Safety in PT. AFI!
  22. Eliminate unfair work targets; the company should determine the targets fairly according to Occupational Health and Safety standard!

***

Translated from https://fsedar.org/rangkuman-kasus-aice, by Dipa Ena

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