Workers Struggles: Asia
9 January 1999
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- Workers strike textile factory
- Plastic bag factory workers demand wage increase
- Hundreds attack two factories for environmental pollution
Thousands of textile workers of P.T. Hegar Mulya in the Cimahi district, Bandung went on strike January 2. They are demanded changes in company policy and the resignation of some members of management who have failed to properly implement the workers' health and safety agreement.
The company has notified workers that they must reapply for their jobs if they want to keep working. Those who do not will be considered resigned.
On January 2, 3,000 workers of P.T. Wiharta Karya Agung in Gresik, an industrial city in East Java, refused to work demanding a wage increase and their holiday bonus. The sit-down action began with the nightshift and continued until morning. During the course of the strike workers smashed down the factory gate, set off fireworks and pounded on an empty drum in front of the factory.
One worker reported that she earns only $16.50 a month after working for the company for 16 years.
A compromise was reached after a meeting between representatives of the workers and management. The company has agreed to a wage increase of $4.50 and to give bonuses to those workers with four months or more service with the company. However, management has refused to grant additional benefits for nightshift workers.
Hundreds of local residents of Purwakerta in West Java attacked P.T. Indo-Bharat and P.T. South Pacific Viscose on January 2. The action continue into the early morning hours of the following day.
The odor of sulfur gas emitted from the factories has angered local residents. They have demanded that the companies stop dumping the gas into the surrounding area, and that they compensate residents for health-related problems.
Local residents burned down the gate and security posts at P.T. Indo-Bharat, and broke windows on management buildings. Some computer units were also reportedly damaged. Meanwhile at P.T. South Pacific Viscose two buses were destroyed, and security posts and a management office were also damaged.