Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Indonesia

JILAF, together with the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (CITU, or KSPI in Indonesian), held a two-day industrial relations and labour policy seminar in Jakarta on November 14 (Friday) and 15 (Saturday) with the participation of about 100 Indonesian union leaders. While the seminar basically focused on the building of constructive industrial relations and the improvement of policy planning capabilities, presentations and lively discussions also took place on the building of a social security system, which is being debated in Indonesia right now, and minimum wage levels, which were being discussed in regional tripartite commissions across the country around the time of the seminar.
At the opening ceremony on the first day of the seminar, addresses were given on behalf of the organizers by CITU Vice-President Ali Akbar and JILAF Executive Director Hisashige Danno, as well as by Secretary Nobuaki Maki of the Japanese Embassy in Indonesia and Assistant General Secretary Takao Yasunaga of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), who were invited to the seminar as guests. CITU Vice-President Akbar expressed his gratitude for JILAF’s cooperation and said that the seminar was very timely, since the building of a social security system in Indonesia was presently at the developmental stage and discussions to determine minimum wage amounts were taking place right then throughout the country. Japanese Embassy Secretary Maki stressed the importance of communication between labour and management, as epitomized by present-day industrial relations in Japan, which have overcome the past age of labour-management confrontation. He said that the seminar was a good opportunity to understand this point.
JILAF and the CITU then gave presentations on the current status of industrial relations and labour problems in their respective countries. In a lecture titled “Economic and Social Development and the Social Role of the Labour Movement,” JILAF Executive Director Danno explained about the role of trade unions in the upgrading of labour and income redistribution, which are required in Indonesia’s growth process, and emphasized the need for not only demands to the government but also the establishment of labour-management consultations in individual companies.
Next, CITU Secretary General Muhammad Rusdi delivered a lecture titled “Indonesia: A New Economic Power in the World,” in which he explained the current situation regarding wages and social security and also reported on labour problems and the response to them in Indonesia. He noted, for example, that while social dialogue is making progress, the whereabouts of responsibility within the government and companies is unclear, making it difficult to find a solution to issues. In the question-and-answer session, there were discussions on such topics as organization expansion and negotiations, labour-management consultations in existing organizations, and corporate profits and appropriate distribution.
In lectures on specific issues, Deputy Director Shigeru Ojima of RENGO’s Research Institute for Advancement of Living Standards (RIALS), in a presentation titled “Overview and Issues of the Japanese Social Security System: The Social Security System and Trade Union Efforts,” explained about the history of social security in Japan and the present setup and advised that while giving consideration to the balance between wages and social security benefits and between benefits and burden, Indonesia should think about the building of a system from a long-term perspective. University of Indonesia lecturer Aryana Satrya, who chairs the Indonesian tripartite commission of government, labour, and management representatives, then talked about such themes as the decision-making mechanism and information-sharing process in Indonesian trade unions and measures to improve the negotiating capabilities of organizations.
On the second day of the seminar, the participants divided into three subgroups on the minimum wage, pensions, and social security in general, including medical treatment, with each subgroup putting together proposals and an action plan. In the plenary session that followed, each subgroup reported on its discussions and comments were heard from JILAF. The minimum wage subgroup recommended that demands to raise minimum wage levels should be well-grounded with the aim of acquiring above a certain level; the pension subgroup stressed that present levels should be maintained even with the start of universal insurance and that retirement allowances should not be reduced; and the social security subgroup proposed that the capabilities of the administration itself should be improved and benefit standards established, because neither the general public nor the administration itself has an adequate understanding of the content and interpretation of the present system. In response, the JILAF side commented that (1) regarding minimum wage levels, while establishing constructive industrial relations, Indonesian unions should continue to engage in tenacious negotiations to gain wages adequate enough to guarantee living standards; (2) regarding the issue of achieving a balance between the insurance premium burden and tax allocation, it is necessary to determine system design, benefit levels, burden ratio, and premiums with the involvement of parties concerned, and trade unions also must improve their planning capabilities; and (3) regarding the fact that industrial disputes easily occur in Japanese companies that have recently set up operations in Indonesia, and especially in small and medium-sized enterprises, since it seems that some companies with undeveloped collective industrial relations even in Japan are moving overseas, the Japanese side also must renew its determination to promote the expansion and strengthening of unions in Japan as well.
Finally, to close the seminar, CITU Vice-President Akbar led all of the participants in a chorus of “Let’s do our best!” chanted three times in Japanese.


11/14FriSeminar day 1
11/15SatSeminar day 2

Photos of the Participants

The opening ceremony

Subgroup discussions

Seminar participants