Preparing to Face Workplace Dispute Settlement, Five Unions Parcitipated in Advocacy Training

Advocacy literally means mentoring support, suggestion, and defense. In the world of employment, advocacy is an activity or a series of activities in the form of suggestion, mentoring, statement of defense by union for its members or organizaton in response to a situation or problem.

It is very important for unions to have an advocacy skill, especially because advocacy is very critical to unions. In an employment relation, there is always a possibility for a ‘dispute’.

That is the backgroung of five unions participating in an advocacy training. The training titled “Developing Organising Strategy “Organiser’s Skills on Labour Laws and Dispute Settlement” located in 5G Resort, Bogor, on 7 – 10 November 2022. The five unions are: SPEE FSPMI, SP PLN, SP PPIP, SP PJB and SP SERBUK.

Suherman, one of the resource persons, explained that the first session of the training would discuss labor law and regulations in Indonesia in relation to industrial dispute settlement. The session also discussed the Basics of Labor Laws and the implementing and supporting regulations. Case studies were also included in the discussion. Along with Suherman, Mahfud Siddik and Aep Rianandar from Advocacy Team of the SPEE-FSPMI supporting this training as resource person.

Disputes between workers and employers basically happen with or without a violation of law that precedes. If a law violation precedes a dispute, there are several factors involved. Those factors are, among others, different understanding on labor law implementation (conflict of rights), a discriminative treatment by employer to workers; or, employers who do not fully understand the role and function of trade unions as a bagaining institution and workers’ representative.

Workplace dispute is avoidable. However, sometimes it is unavoidable due to several factors. First, a unilateral decision on sanction imposed by the employer regardless of the agreed regulation applicable in the company. The company only considers workers as a factor or production and are oriented to profit only (prioritize productivity). Second, failed negotiation as an effort to solve a problem due to bad and ineffective communication; and third, no recognizition for union as the institution that represents the workers in that workplace.

The next session discussed bipartite and mediation as parts of workplace dispute settlement. A dispute must be settled/negotiated between the trade union and management. After the trade union and management agree on the disputed matter, both will create a Collective Agreement. If the negotiation failed, both will go to mediation.

The session invited participants to do a mediation simulation. Participants were divided into two groups. One group played the role of the employers, the other the trade union/workers. The case used in the simulation was demotion of a worker accompanied by decrease in wage.

The simulation went well and was very interesting. Each group had a role, different problems, responses and answers. The session used undated legal terms and legal arguments.

The seminar about Understanding Dispute Settlement in the Industrial Relation Court (PHI) was delivered by Aep Risnandar. The seminar was followed by a simulation of a court session in the Industrial Relation Court (PHI).

In this session, participants acted like they were in a court session. They also tried to formulate their lawsuit, answer from the defendant, second declaration (replik), final reply from the defendant (duplik), provide evidences (documents and witnesses), conclusion, and final statement.

It is hoped that the training will improve the labor organisers’ knowledge and skills on Indonesian labor law and on how to do advocacy on workers’ rights vioilation in their respective workplaces in addition, organizers would be able to use their skill and knowledge to develop their organization’s organizing strategies.

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