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Pay to Work: Corrupt practices cause mounting frustration

Photo: OxfamAUS

The other morning I spoke with some villagers who live in the district surrounding the Ching Luh factory. They told me about a local hustler who promotes factory recruitment. Potential applicants are asked for money ranging from 2-2.5 million rupiah (equivalent to two months of a factory workers’ full time wage). The hustler demanded upfront deposits of 1 million rupiah.

It turned out, however, that this hustler did not actually hold any direct authority at Ching Luh. His actual profession was driving a motorbike taxi or ojek. But he had contacts inside the factory with whom he ‘co-operated’. Several villagers paid money to this man in hope of obtaining employment, but not all of them got work at the factory. Some of them were able to have their money returned, others didn’t. Their money just disappeared.

Since 2009 the practise of making payments in return for the promise of a job at CLI has become common.

Yet as weeks, months, now almost a year has gone by, frustrations are mounting. On the 24th of June, several citizens carried out a demonstration in front of the factory to demand employment. The angry crowd included many who had paid money to the hustler. Not that they have evidence of having paid—it’s not like he gave them a receipt.

According to the people that I spoke with, factory management doesn’t want to know about what was going on with the recruitment process. So those who had been deceived by the hustler remain unemployed and their money lost.

It concerns me that there is an abuse of power taking place here, involving people both inside and outside the factory. I hope that serious action is taken to stop this situation from getting even further out of control.


Note: The content of this blog is produced by and reflects the personal views of individuals, including workers and union leaders based in Indonesia. The views expressed in this blog are therefore individual views and do not necessarily represent the view or position of and are not endorsed by Oxfam Australia. Further the purpose of this blog is to assist in providing a platform for individuals, including workers and union leaders based in Indonesia to communicate directly with the public and no representation is made as to the accuracy of the information. The information contained in this blog is provided only for educational purposes, and blog topics may or may not be updated subsequent to their initial posting.