Union Busting in an Authorized Daihatsu Automobile Dealer

Workers organized a protest against union busting in front of Authorized Daihatsu Automobile Dealer Store, December 28th, 2017

Kharisma Sentosa Makassar Inc, a dealer Store of Daihatsu Automobile, denied the existence of trade union. Workers who joined the trade union were fired—without any warning letter.

A total of six union officers and three members of the National Automobile Workers Union (Serikat Pekerja Otomotif Nasional / SPON) were fired for the reason of establishing a trade union within the dealership. Management of Kharisma Sentosa, a dealer of Daihatsu Automobile, verbally fired workers without any warning or compensation.

“Their names were removed from the working attendance list and paid no severance,” said Hatta, the Chairman of Federation of National Workers’ Struggle (Federasi Perjuangan Buruh Nasional/ FPBN) as the umbrella organization of SPON. Until this article is published, the company still insisted not to re-employ the nine dismissed workers.

SPON, officially registered in the Indonesian Regional Office of Manpower and Transmigration Department in October 2017, was established to fight for workers’ rights ignored by corporations. Ever since Kharisma Sentosa run its business, its sales workers have had no choice but to meet the monthly sales target—three automobile units to be sold—in order to be paid according to the municipal minimum wage.

“When the workers do not meet the monthly sales target, their salary will only be paid for around IDR 1,800,000 (USD 134), even though the Makassar City’s municipal minimum wage is IDR 2,504,000 (USD 187),” said Hatta. “To be paid above the minimum wage, workers can only rely on the bonuses and incentives as results of meeting the sales target.”

In addition to receiving underpayment, a total of 40 sales workers of the authorized dealer of Daihatsu’s Indonesia branch were also not registered as participants of the National Health Insurance System (Sistem Jaminan Kesehatan Nasional / SJSN). According to Act No. 24, 2011 regarding Health Insurance Agency, employers have the obligation to register their employees as participants of the insurance system.

The working conditions in Kharisma Sentosa were also worsening after a change of company management. Roni Octavianus Ginting, having been the new General Manager since 2016, changed the company’s policies related to remuneration system and working status. According to Hatta, this new remuneration system has made it difficult for the workers to be able to get bonuses and incentives.

Under Roni’s management, the company also enacted a new working status which has put the long-tenured workers to be contractual workers. This new policy has made the workers precarious with the fact that they have never had a written working agreement since the beginning of their employment. “The workers have only held the company’s regulations, while the working agreement was only done verbally,” said Hatta.

This working status policy is alleged to be discriminatory since the contractual status only applied to sales workers, while the supervisor and the head of the branch are still able to take benefit of the permanent status.

The company thus has violated the Indonesian Labor Law (Act No. 13, 2003) in regard of employment relationship. According to the law, non-permanent workers defined as ‘The Definite Time Working Agreement’ may not be employed for continuous-permanent types of labor.

In this regard, the sales workers in Kharisma Sentosa are indeed the core of automobile sales business given that the labor is continuous-permanent. In other words, the working status of the sales workers must remain permanent.

The Anti-Union Attitude of the Company
In response to the worsening working condition, the unionized workers seek to negotiate with the company management on December 11th, 2017. However, the request for negotiation was denied because the company did not want to recognize the existence of a trade union within its business. Given the company denial, some of the workers planned to go on strike by suspending the daily sale as a form of protest.

Two days after some workers submitted the strike notice to the company on December 21st, 2017, during a ceremony to introduce the new branch manager, the workers who planned to suspend the sale were directly fired.

“During the new branch manager introduction, the workers were cornered by the management for the reason of strike. The workers were fired and asked to leave the room immediately,” said Hatta.

Most of the fired workers were the union officers, i.e. members of the union’s Organization Advisory Council and Executive Body. They are Umair Arsyad, Mulyadi, Syahrianto, Jufran M, Hardi, and Kasmal.

Given the one-sided termination of the employment relationship, SPON organized a protest action in front of Kharisma Sentosa dealer store on December 28th, 2017. The action was also organized to protest of the contractual working status and the union busting and to demand the company to reemploy the fired workers. In addition, SPON also demanded the company to comply with the mandatory minimum wage and to register its workers as participants of the mandatory state health insurance.

However, the company was reluctant to meet the workers’ demands. The company also remained to deny the existence of the trade union, in a violation of the Trade Union Law – Act 21 of 2000 which protects the right to associate in workplaces.

In an action against the law, the company mobilized thugs to intimidate the workers who joined the protest. “As a negotiation occurred at the same time with the strike, the company invited groups of thugs, called Pemuda Pancasila, and another unknown group, in the meeting room,” Hatta added.

Located in 78A Gunung Latimojong Street, Makassar City, South Sulawesi Province, Kharisma Sentosa Makassar Inc is one of the authorized dealers of Daihatsu automobile. The company is listed on the official website of Astra Daihatsu Motor Inc.

Established in 1992, Astra Daihatsu Motor Inc. is one of the Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd’s main overseas joint ventures taking the role as Daihatsu’s branding agency in Indonesia and as Daihatsu-Toyota’s automobile and auto parts’ producer and seller.

Through the dealership of Astra Daihatsu Motor as Daihatsu’s main overseas joint venture and part of its global supply chain, Daihatsu may sell the automobile products in order to generate profit. This is obviously made possible only through the labor of the sales workers in its dealership stores all over Indonesia.

While the workers’ rights are ignored, Daihatsu is recorded to manage reaching sale number of 156,993 automobile units in the period of January – October 2017. Given the sale number, Daihatsu’s market share has increased to 17.8% of retail sales.

Workers’ Correspondent: Hatta (FPBN)
Editor: Robie Kholillurrahman



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