Workers must be free to form a union, even when there is already one or more unions in the factory. At least ten workers are required to form a union.
Workers are free to join or not to join a union. Under Indonesian law, a worker can join only one union at a factory. Unions may not limit their membership based on discriminatory grounds, such as political allegiance, religion, ethnicity or sex.
Unions must give written notice of their establishment to the local government agency responsible for manpower affairs, as designated by the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration. The notice should include the names of the union’s founders and officials, as well as the union’s constitution and by-laws.
Unions must have a constitution and bylaws, which contain the union’s name, principles and objectives, date of establishment, location, membership and committees, funds, and method of amending the constitution and by-laws.
The functions of unions set forth under Indonesian law include protecting workers, defending their rights and increasing the welfare of workers and their families. To achieve these goals, unions negotiate and enter into collective bargaining agreements, resolve industrial disputes, represent workers and create harmonious industrial relations, and strike in accordance with legal requirements. They also convey workers’ aspirations and complaints to employers.
TRADE UNION ACT NO. 21 OF 2000, ARTS. 3-4- 5, 9, 11-12, 14, 18, 28 [UU SERIKAT PEKERJA NO. 21 TAHUN 2000, PASAL 3-4, 5, 9, 11-12, 14, 18, 28]
MANPOWER ACT NO. 13 OF 2003, ART. 104, EXPLANATORY NOTE [UU KETENAGAKERJAAN NO. 13 TAHUN 2003, PASAL 104, CACATAN PENJELASAN]
According to Indonesian law, the employer must provide opportunities to union officials and members to carry out union activities during working hours as agreed by both parties or arranged in the collective bargaining agreement. Union officials should have free access to workers at the workplace during breaks and before and after work.
Unions have the right to form and join union federations. A federation is composed of at least 5 unions. Federations have the right to form and join confederations. A confederation is composed of at least 3 federations.
A union may only be a member of one federation. A federation may only be a member of one confederation.
Federations and confederations must give written notice of their establishment to the local government agency responsible for manpower affairs, as designated by the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration. The notice should include the names of the federations/confederations founders and officials, as well as the federations/confederations constitution and by-laws.
Unions should be able to collect dues from their members, either directly or indirectly by requesting the employer to deduct the dues from workers’ wages. In order to request the employer to deduct dues from workers’ wages, the union must submit a list of members seeking to have their dues deducted, the names of the union committee members, the union’s registration number, a copy of the union regulations, and written statements from the workers who would like their wages deducted.
Case Study: A union negotiated with a factory’s management to require workers automatically become union members once they became permanent workers. Union fees were automatically deducted from workers’ wages without any written agreement from the workers. However, the union and the management agreed that workers could leave the union at any time.
Enrolling workers in the union automatically without their consent is not appropriate, because workers have the right to join or not to join a union. They also should provide a written consent for having union dues deducted from their wages.
MANPOWER ACT NO. 13 OF 2003, ART. 104(2,3) [UU KETENAGAKERJAAN NO. 13 TAHUN 2003, PASAL 104(2,3)];
MOMT DECREE NO. KEP.187/MEN IX/2004 [KEPUTUSAN MENAKERTRANS NO. KEP.187/MEN IX/2004].