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Indonesia: Reinstated union leader now back in his office !

02 April 2013
Arif Islam in his office
Yesterday, after a five-year struggle and more than 3 months after the court ruling ordering his full reinstatement: Arif Islam, finally back in his own office !

Arif Islam was dismissed after a strike in May 2008. Since then, his union, along with PSI, has fought continuously to have him reinstated. Now Arif Islam has won after the industrial relation court of Indonesia judged that the strike he took part in was legal. The case of Arif Islam is a longstanding case of trade union rights violation in Indonesia.

Arif Islam was at the head of a two-day strike by his union in May 2008 that affected several Indonesian airports. The management of his company PT (Persero) Angkasa Pura retaliated to the strike action by dismissing him. Since then there has been an ongoing campaign to reinstate him.

PSI filed a complaint to the ILO, and in November 2012 the ILO Committee for Freedom of Association requested the Indonesian government to take steps and ensure that the union and workers' rights were fully implemented. One of the recommendations was to ensure that Arif Islam was reinstated in the position he occupied at the time of dismissal, with compensation for lost wages and benefits. However, the Indonesian government did not agree to reinstate Arif Islam.

The union and PSI have followed Arif Islam's case further, and with the verdict from December 12 clearly in his favour. The judges re-examined the case and concluded that the union strike in 2008 was legal, and that the workers' right to industrial action must be recognised. The court ordered the company to reinstate Arif Islam and to pay all his salaries and benefits in arrears. The company will face a fine of IDR 700,000 (US$75) per day if it doesn't comply to the court decision.

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