The Batam shipyard riot: Discrimination time-bomb

by Donny Syofyan, Padang

The Batam shipy..." /> The Batam shipyard riot: Discrimination time-bomb

by Donny Syofyan, Padang

The Batam shipy...">
The Batam shipyard riot: Discrimination time-bomb

by Donny Syofyan, Padang

The Batam shipyard riot is finally cooling down with Indians stating apology over quarrel in PT Drydocks World Graha dockyard in Tanjung Uncang, Batam.

This clash not only accounted for the unexpected costs of financial losses, reaching almost Rp 10 billion (US$1 million) but also led to Indian workers being evacuated from the area, not to mention the most possible social costs of soaring tension between foreign and local employees in the region.

In accordance with May Day or International Labor Day, the Batam clash should be a lesson for all company stakeholders, including the government, employers and laborers.

Many believe the riot was the tipping point of decaying discrimination between foreign and local employees, especially related to unfair payment and service.

It is public knowledge there is a great discrepancy of salary rates between foreign and local employees in Indonesia. A friend of mine complained about receiving his low monthly salary from ExxonMobil.

As a summa cum laude college graduate, he got salary he did not deserve, Rp 5 million ($600) a month. By comparison, his American coworker received $5,000 or over Rp 50 million a month. This yawning gap, he admitted, has made local employees work half-heartedly.

Unfortunately, this injustice seems to be intentional by the government. State-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina, for instance, applies different pay between foreign and local employees. It is said to prevent discriminated remuneration among state-owned companies. Come on! This excuse really makes no sense and lets down our own workforce.

When it comes to pay raises, the companies object in unison. When the Manpower Ministry proposed increasing the minimum wage in Jakarta by an extra Rp 590,000 in the past few months, both local and foreign enterprises chorused their opposition.

Even the courts rejected the labors groups’ argument on the fact it had no legal grounding and sided with the companies.

Therefore, seen from PT Drydocks World Graha shipyard case, tackling workplace discrimination is urgently necessary and calls for the following efforts:

First, pay discrimination must be put to an end. Employees in the shipyard company have been and are still suffering from discrimination in terms of pay and facilities.

For the same position, foreign supervisors enjoy privileged treatment such as housing and laundry, of which local supervisors never receive.

This is not to mention extreme pay rate between foreign and local employees. While a local employee, for example, simply gets Rp 1.2 million up to Rp 1.5 million a month, a foreign employee enjoys ten-fold pay.

The going gets tough as the foreign employees’ education background, particularly supervisor and foreman, is not in line with departments of workplace where they are working.

Pay discrimination, therefore, would be settled on the condition that local citizens are subject to special protection. It is time for the government to enforce the labor law to prohibit compensating aliens more generously.

As a matter of fact, Indonesia is not standing alone as it is about to put into effect. Bahrain and Brazil have long stipulated local employee protection.

For example, article 44 of Bahrain Labor Law mandates that wages and remuneration of foreign workers not exceed pay for local citizens with equal skills and qualifications unless necessary for recruitment, while article 358 of Brazil Labor Code requires that salary of a local citizen not be smaller than pay of a foreign employee.

In a long-term, it is believed the local citizenship-prone and oriented wage, payment and remuneration will keep multinationals from rewarding their expatriates more than comparable locals.

Consequently, remuneration is no longer based on nationality. Rather, competency speaks louder and plays more of a determining role.

Second, selection and recruitment should be made equally. In the case of Drydocks, foreign employees are mostly recruited in Singapore and take better posts in the company.

This different policy turns to be the earlier discrimination seeds which are very likely to result in suspicion and tension between foreign and local employees in the workplace.

Hence, equal and transparent selection and recruitment are very much necessary in terms of procedure and treatment. While professional procedures leave room for free and fair competition of the potential employees, equal treatment makes employees accessible to their rights based upon reward and punishment principle.

Furthermore, training will play significant role in eliminating discrimination. Article 45 (a) of the 2003 Labor Law requires each multinational corporation to appoint local employees as partners for transfer of technology and skill.

Article 45 (b) obliges foreign employee providers to organize training for local employees corresponding to the foreign employees’ qualification.

Batam shipyard riot confirmed that Drydocks did not put the rules into practice. Generally, foreign employees were not working side-by-side with local counterparts.

Above all, any efforts to tackle discrimination entail mutual responsibility for both the company and its employees.

Thus, upholding the law in connection with the riot is a fixed price. Swift and effective legal process is necessary to help maintain a conducive investment climate. Relying too much upon the suspect might rather have a counterproductive effect.

While the company is expected to introspect following the incident, police must not side with rioters. Defending rights without taking justice into account not only makes employees do not do their stuff but also end up fostering endless tyranny of discrimination in the workplace.

Any efforts to tackle discrimination entail mutual responsibility for both the company and its employees.


The writer is a lecturer in Andalas University, Padang.
<span style="font-size: 14pt"><span style="font-weight: bold">The Batam shipyard riot: Discrimination time-bomb</span></span><br /> <br /> by Donny Syofyan, Padang <br /> <br /> The Batam shipyard riot is finally cooling down with Indians stating apology over quarrel in PT Drydocks World Graha dockyard in Tanjung Uncang, Batam.<br /> <br /> This clash not only accounted for the unexpected costs of financial losses, reaching almost Rp 10 billion (US$1 million) but also led to Indian workers being evacuated from the area, not to mention the most possible social costs of soaring tension between foreign and local employees in the region.<br /> <br /> In accordance with May Day or International Labor Day, the Batam clash should be a lesson for all company stakeholders, including the government, employers and laborers.<br /> <br /> Many believe the riot was the tipping point of decaying discrimination between foreign and local employees, especially related to unfair payment and service.<br /> <br /> It is public knowledge there is a great discrepancy of salary rates between foreign and local employees in Indonesia. A friend of mine complained about receiving his low monthly salary from ExxonMobil.<br /> <br /> As a summa cum laude college graduate, he got salary he did not deserve, Rp 5 million ($600) a month. By comparison, his American coworker received $5,000 or over Rp 50 million a month. This yawning gap, he admitted, has made local employees work half-heartedly.<br /> <br /> Unfortunately, this injustice seems to be intentional by the government. State-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina, for instance, applies different pay between foreign and local employees. It is said to prevent discriminated remuneration among state-owned companies. Come on! This excuse really makes no sense and lets down our own workforce.<br /> <br /> When it comes to pay raises, the companies object in unison. When the Manpower Ministry proposed increasing the minimum wage in Jakarta by an extra Rp 590,000 in the past few months, both local and foreign enterprises chorused their opposition.<br /> <br /> Even the courts rejected the labors groups&rsquo; argument on the fact it had no legal grounding and sided with the companies.<br /> <br /> Therefore, seen from PT Drydocks World Graha shipyard case, tackling workplace discrimination is urgently necessary and calls for the following efforts:<br /> <br /> First, pay discrimination must be put to an end. Employees in the shipyard company have been and are still suffering from discrimination in terms of pay and facilities.<br /> <br /> For the same position, foreign supervisors enjoy privileged treatment such as housing and laundry, of which local supervisors never receive.<br /> <br /> This is not to mention extreme pay rate between foreign and local employees. While a local employee, for example, simply gets Rp 1.2 million up to Rp 1.5 million a month, a foreign employee enjoys ten-fold pay.<br /> <br /> The going gets tough as the foreign employees&rsquo; education background, particularly supervisor and foreman, is not in line with departments of workplace where they are working.<br /> <br /> Pay discrimination, therefore, would be settled on the condition that local citizens are subject to special protection. It is time for the government to enforce the labor law to prohibit compensating aliens more generously.<br /> <br /> As a matter of fact, Indonesia is not standing alone as it is about to put into effect. Bahrain and Brazil have long stipulated local employee protection.<br /> <br /> For example, article 44 of Bahrain Labor Law mandates that wages and remuneration of foreign workers not exceed pay for local citizens with equal skills and qualifications unless necessary for recruitment, while article 358 of Brazil Labor Code requires that salary of a local citizen not be smaller than pay of a foreign employee.<br /> <br /> In a long-term, it is believed the local citizenship-prone and oriented wage, payment and remuneration will keep multinationals from rewarding their expatriates more than comparable locals.<br /> <br /> Consequently, remuneration is no longer based on nationality. Rather, competency speaks louder and plays more of a determining role.<br /> <br /> Second, selection and recruitment should be made equally. In the case of Drydocks, foreign employees are mostly recruited in Singapore and take better posts in the company.<br /> <br /> This different policy turns to be the earlier discrimination seeds which are very likely to result in suspicion and tension between foreign and local employees in the workplace.<br /> <br /> Hence, equal and transparent selection and recruitment are very much necessary in terms of procedure and treatment. While professional procedures leave room for free and fair competition of the potential employees, equal treatment makes employees accessible to their rights based upon reward and punishment principle.<br /> <br /> Furthermore, training will play significant role in eliminating discrimination. Article 45 (a) of the 2003 Labor Law requires each multinational corporation to appoint local employees as partners for transfer of technology and skill.<br /> <br /> Article 45 (b) obliges foreign employee providers to organize training for local employees corresponding to the foreign employees&rsquo; qualification.<br /> <br /> Batam shipyard riot confirmed that Drydocks did not put the rules into practice. Generally, foreign employees were not working side-by-side with local counterparts.<br /> <br /> Above all, any efforts to tackle discrimination entail mutual responsibility for both the company and its employees.<br /> <br /> Thus, upholding the law in connection with the riot is a fixed price. Swift and effective legal process is necessary to help maintain a conducive investment climate. Relying too much upon the suspect might rather have a counterproductive effect.<br /> <br /> While the company is expected to introspect following the incident, police must not side with rioters. Defending rights without taking justice into account not only makes employees do not do their stuff but also end up fostering endless tyranny of discrimination in the workplace.<br /> <br /> Any efforts to tackle discrimination entail mutual responsibility for both the company and its employees.<br /> <br /> <br /> <span style="font-style: italic">The writer is a lecturer in Andalas University, Padang.</span><br />
KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated
it seems that in indonesia, foreign companies *love* to reduce their profits by employing high-priced foreign labour. i mean, why else would they do it?

it seems that in indonesia, foreign companies *love* to reduce their profits by employing high-priced foreign labour. i mean, why else would they do it?<br /> <br />
KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated
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