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  Issue No 118 Official Organ of LaborNet 02 November 2001  

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News

STOP PRESS: Jakarta Shangri-La Hotel Workers Fined US$2 million

By Jasper Goss

In a decision seen as precendent making, the South Jakarta District Court, has ordered seven dismissed union leaders from the luxury Shangri-La Hotel to pay over US$2 million in fines.

The decision is highly unusual because a union representing workers has been regarded as a company under Indonesian law, in contradiction to the Trade Union Act of 2000, and the individual office bearers of that union have been held responsible, in a manner akin to company directors.

If the decision is allowed to stand, a very powerful union-busting technique will be at the disposal of any company which wants to intimidate trade unions.

The case was brought against the workers for losses that the Jakarta hotel management claimed it had incurred during its three month closure and lock-out following an industrial dispute.

On December 22 last year, a spontaneous protest occurred in response to the arbitary dismissal of the Shangri-La Jakarta Independent Labor Union (SPMS) president.

Management reacted to this protest by closing the hotel and

then in the following months dismissed hundreds of workers, including union members who were on holiday at the time and not invovled in the protest.

While Indonesia's sham labour arbitration process gave management the right to fire the workers, the union has continued to maintain a peaceful and united campaign in order to secure the jobs back of the dismissed workers.

Confronted with physical assaults and intimidati on Shangri-La workers have continue their struggle.

This latest tactic is but one further sign of the lengths to which the hotel's owners will go to in their attempts to deny the workers their legitimate rights to be represnted by a union of their choice. The union's lawyer, Johnson Panjaitan, has said the case will be appealed to a higher

court.

Jasper Goss is Information and Research Officer with the Asia and Pacific regional secretariat of the International Union of Food, Agriculture, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations.


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In this issue
Features
*  Interview: Flying High
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet on saving Ansett jobs, defeating Howard and wooing a new generation of unionists.
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*  Corporate: Howard's List of Shame
ACTU President Shaharn Burrow runs through the litany of corporate collapses and down-sizes that have cut a swathe through the Australian community.
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*  Campaign Diary: Week Four: The Battle Lines Drawn
It was a week that saw the leaders launch their campaigns, kiss lots of babies and battle for space with a Holy Jihad.
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*  Industrial: Desperately Seeking Solutions
They might not call it 'industrial relations' in the spin of modern politics, but all the major parties have released plans that will affect the way we work over the next three years.
*
*  Economics: Manufacturing Prosperity
Neale Towart looks at the hidden debate of the election campaign - the degree of intervention government should take through Industry Policy.
*
*  History: War And Politics
The Conservatives are trying to wage war and win the election. The pundits say itís a tried and true recipe for electoral success. The 1940 federal poll suggests otherwise.
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*  International: Globalising Labour
On the eve of the International Metalworkers Federation Congress general secretary Marcello Malentacchi argues all nations need to retain a manufacturing base.
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*  Review: Security - Who Needs it?
What does it mean to be secure? Should we even need to ask? In his new book, Anthony Burke asks the tough questions.
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*  Satire: Locksmith Promises "Greater Security" If Elected
A Melbourne locksmith has agreed to run for federal parliament, campaigning on the key issue of security.
*

News
»  Workplace Blitz in Poll Lead-Up
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»  Abbott Under Pressure to Hold Seat
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»  Howard Double Dip Is Skyway Robbery
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»  Knowledge Nation Boosts IT Skills
*
»  Stellar Win in Call Centre
*
»  Unionists Barred Entry to Australia
*
»  Shier's Famous Last Wordds
*
»  Real Baby Bonus for Local Government
*
»  Entire Town Joins Nurses' Strike
*
»  Some Good News in Orange Squeeze
*
»  Train Drivers Call for Level Crossing Action
*
»  Posties See Wage Rise By Christmas
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»  Howard Fails To Stem Workplace Deaths
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»  Greenpeace Activist Gets Union Support
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»  Hotel Workers Name Their Odds
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»  Airport Screeners Strike Over Work Value
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»  East Timor Training Centre Copmpleted
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»  NSW IR Act Due for Five Year Review
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»  Organiser of the Year Nominations Open
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»  Activists Notebook
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»  STOP PRESS: Jakarta Shangri-La Hotel Workers Fined US$2 million
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  The Locker Room
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Tool Shed
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Letters to the editor
»  More on Orwell
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»  The Ostrich Approach
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