My thoughts on democracy and protest

Blogs, Ethical trading & business, Labour rights article written on the 21 Jul 2011

Photo: Rino Hidayah/OxfamAUS

English / Bahasa

As workers, getting our message or opinion across to multinational corporations can be difficult. We use protest to draw their attention to neglected issues and to raise awareness amongst the wider community.

PlayFair Alliance Protest (Rino Hidayah/OxfamAUS)

PlayFair Alliance Protest (Rino Hidayah/OxfamAUS)

I see protest as a part of my country’s democracy. Protests arise in situations where we can no longer solve a problem via negotiations.

In the factory where I work we always try and solve disputes through at least two rounds of bi-party negotiations. If there is still no progress then we might take direct action. We also use protest to raise awareness about workers’ issues within our communities.

In my experience, protests can be successful in achieving our demands. As just one example, there was a case where workers hadn’t received their annual bonuses. After the workers at the factory took direct action the bonuses were paid immediately.

If we were denied the opportunity to hold protests then workers in Indonesia would experience even greater repression. In fact, workers who want to protest in Indonesia still face many obstacles. For instance according to regulations protests must be carried out in a safe, orderly and peaceful manner, but the comprehension of “safe, orderly and peaceful” depends on who is interpreting.

For these reasons, I think freedom of association still needs further strengthening and better implementation.

Have a question?

I might not be able to respond straight away but I’m happy to answer your questions about my life in Indonesia and my job at the sports shoe factory.

Photo credits: Rino Hidayah/OxfamAUS

Indonesian Version – Versi Bahasa Indonesia

Demo dan demokrasi

Sebagai buruh, untuk menyampaikan pesan atau pendapat kepada perusahan internasional memang sulit, jadi kami mengambil aksi untuk mengangkat isu yang kurang diperhatikan serta meningkatkan kesadaran masyarakat umum.

PlayFair Alliance Protest (Rino Hidayah/OxfamAUS)

PlayFair Alliance Protest (Rino Hidayah/OxfamAUS)

Saya melihat aksi adalah bagian dari Negara demokrasi. Aksi adalah akibat keadaan di mana soal belum bisa diselesaikan lewat perundingan.

Misalnya kalau di perusahaan, kami selalu mencoba menyelesaikan masalah lewat biparte sampai dua kali, kalau tetap belum ada perkembangan baru kami melakukan aksi. Kami juga menggunakan aksi untuk meningkatkan kesadaran masyarakat terhadap isu-isu hak buruh.

Dalam pengalaman saya, aksi juga bisa berhasil dalam mencapai tuntutan kami. Sebagai satu contoh saja, ada kasus di mana pembayaran tunjangan di pabrik telat. Setelah buruh di pabrik mengambil aksi tunjangan mereka langsung dibayarkan.

Kalau kesempatan untuk melakukan aksi tidak diberikan kaum buruh akan semakin tertindas. Sebetulnya, masih banyak halangan yang dihadapi kaum buruh yang ingin melakukan aksi di Inodnesia. Misalnya menurut peraturan aksi itu harus dilaksanakan dengan aman, tertib dan damai. Tetapi pemahaman “aman, tertib dan damai” tergantung pada siapa yang mengartikannya.

Oleh karena itu, kebebasan untuk berserikat masih perlu diperkuat dan dilaksanakan dengan lebih baik.