Thu, 06 Jan 2000

Labor exporters urge Din to resign

JAKARTA (JP): The Association of Indonesian Labor Export Companies (Apjati) urged on Wednesday the director general of labor placement, Din Syamsuddin, to step down, saying he lacked competence.

The association's chairman, Abdulla Umar, quoted labor exporters as complaining that Din was unable to create a conducive climate for accelerated labor exports, and instead took many measures and actions which were considered counterproductive.

"He does not understand this business sector. He has issued policies which have triggered distortion, stagnation and division among labor exporters," he said.

Umar said Din frequently punished labor exporters who were found guilty of violating labor-related laws without consulting Apjati and its honorary council. The council was established during the tenure of former manpower minister Fahmi Idris, which ended last October.

"We support stiff action against errant companies, but only after consulting us. There is an impression that the government is discriminative in upholding the regulations, since many other companies violating the law are exempted," he said.

He particularly criticized the government's recent decision to issue 200 more licenses to labor export companies. He said it had triggered unhealthy competition among labor exporters and devalued Indonesian labor overseas.

"Indonesian workers' bargaining power has weakened because of the presence of Gapertindo, the rival labor exporters association," he said.

Din was not available for comment on Wednesday. He said recently 80 percent of the more than 400 labor exporting companies were unprofessional in the way they dispatched workers overseas and provided legal protection for workers in trouble. (rms)