Fri, 14 Oct 1994

SPSI to extend membership to professional associations

JAKARTA (JP): The door of the All Indonesian Workers Union (SPSI) is now wide open for professionals wanting to strengthen their bargaining position.

Union chief Imam Sudarwo said yesterday that the only labor union recognized by the government hopes to accommodate both blue collar and white collar workers alike.

"SPSI would be more solid and stronger if all professional groups join in," he said when briefing journalists about the new policy the union adopted in its recent leadership meeting in West Java.

He claimed that "many" professional associations have expressed their interest in joining the organization. "Our door is open 24 hours a day for them to come in," he said.

Among professional groups considering joining are the associations of nurses (IPI), secretaries (ISI) and teachers (PGRI), which altogether claim more than 1 million members.

He said the door was also open for the Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI). "Yes, we mean to be consistent with the new policy," he said.

The leaders meeting in Cisarua discussed the union's organization restructuring and reviewed the organization's statute.

Under the restructuring program, SPSI returned to its old federation format it practiced until 1973, serving as an umbrella organization for various trade unions in the industrial sector.

Sudarwo said that now anything related to industrial disputes, collective labor agreements, strikes and minimum wages would be handled by respective sectors and that SPSI would deal with the general policies and cooperation with foreign organizations.

He added that the workers' organization would not be renamed while the draft of the new statute would be finalized in the SPSI national congress in May next year.


SPSI Secretary General Bomer Pasaribu said that the union would focus on propagating the typically Indonesian concept on industrial relations based on the state ideology Pancasila.

He said the "Pancasila Industrial Relations" concept would be introduced mainly to state-owned companies.

He added that state-owned companies should serve as models in the implementation of the concept, whose enforcement is encouraged in the 1993 Guidelines of State Policy.

He also said that SPSI is targeting to increase the number of collective labor agreements it sponsors by 20 percent from over 11,000 to almost 14,000 within one year.

Official figures show 143,000 companies employing 10 or more workers in the country but most of them have not made such agreements with their workers.

The government has encouraged employers and their workers to make collective labor agreements specifying their respective rights and obligations. (rms)