Tue, 09 Mar 1999

Foundation protests workers' shooting

JAKARTA: The Legal Aid Foundation here has demanded that the military police account for the shooting of striking workers of a plywood plant on Friday. This shooting led to 12 strikers being hospitalized for bullet wounds, a statement made available to The Jakarta Post said.

The Foundation on Monday quoted a report from the Legal Aid Office in Semarang that all the victims were demonstrating workers of PT Kayu Lapis Indonesia who were fired on at around 6 p.m. by members of the mobile brigade after the latter issued warning shots.

Victims are still being treated at the Romani hospital in Semarang, the capital of Central Java.

However the Foundation could only identify seven victims: Agus Iman, Munaroh, Mahmudi, Miskon, Haryadi, Widodo and Mahmud.

The Foundation said it was unacceptable for the police unit to shoot at random, "ignoring standards for the use of force and without a sense of humanity toward workers demanding better welfare peacefully and democratically."

The involvement of the police unit "cannot be separated from the policy of the Coordinating Agency for National Stability and Security (Bakorstranas)... on military intervention in labor disputes," which should stop, the Foundation statement signed by coordinator Teten Masduki said.

The workers' demands including a 40 percent hike in wages were reasonable, Teten said, given today's living costs, inflation and the low regional wage increase.