Indonesian union attacks Hawke government

May 15, 1991

Indonesian union attacks Hawke government

Indonesia's only independent trade union has condemned the Australian government's decision to back Indonesian government minister Cosmas Batubara's candidacy for president of the International Labour Conference.

Industrial relations minister Peter Cook announced in April that the Hawke government would back Batubara. The ILC is the major decision-making body of the International Labour Organisation.

Johannes Princen, president of the Setia Kawan (Solidarity) trade union, said, "As long as Mr Batubara belongs to a government which violates our constitutional guarantee to freedom of association, we ask ILO members not to support the candidacy of Indonesia for the presidency of the ILC".

The Indonesian government permits only one official union, which it controls, and has refused to recognise Setia Kawan. Union members and officials have been harassed by security forces since it was set up last September.

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