Indonesian workers group condemns ACTU

Issue 

Indonesian workers group condemns ACTU

The Jakarta-based worker support organisation Yayasan Maju Bersama (YMB — Advance Together Foundation) has called for Australian unions to boycott plans by the ACTU and the Australian government to assist the Suharto regime's puppet trade union, the All Indonesian Workers Union (SPSI — Serikat Pekerja Seluruh Indonesia).

A report to the ACTU — first made public a fortnight ago by the journal Solidarity — has recommended a scheme of massive assistance to the SPSI and the establishment of an Australia-Indonesia Labour Institute.

The YMB statement accuses the ACTU of participating in oppressing the working class in Indonesia. According to YMB's information, ACTU assistance for 1992-1993 to SPSI will be A$1 million. "This will be siphoned off by SPSI officials with the excuse that it is being used for training for workers. But the SPSI has never defended workers in Indonesia. In fact every time workers strike, SPSI officials accuse them of carrying out subversive activities."

YMB also expressed concern that the ACTU's help in expanding SPSI factory units, will increase SPSI's ability to have so-called union dues cut from workers' wages. According to YMB, workers in the Jakarta, Bogor, Tangerang and Bekasih areas are receiving Rp3100 per day, which are then cut by Rp750.

It is common knowledge in Jakarta that such "union dues" are mainly used to support the lifestyles of SPSI officials, often retired military officers. "The emergence of genuine unionism in Indonesia is being impeded. The ACTU is helping strengthen the fascist New Order regime by helping the SPSI, with its programs aimed at domesticating the working class."

YMB has asked for its call to boycott the ACTU's plans to be circulated to all Australian and European trade unions.