PLN’s Union Achieve in CBA Negotiation

“Unity will strengthen us. On the contrary, disunity will only weaken us.” The truth contained in this sentence is believed by Serikat Pekerja Perusahaan Listrik Negara (SP PLN). They experienced failure in building the unity. Consequently, they had to pay the price. For more than ten years, since the last CBA ended in 2012, SP PLN failed to negotiate the new one.

The last Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was agreed and signed in 2010. That was the CBA that applicable from 2010 to 2012. Finally, SP PLN succeeded in negotiating and then agreeing the CBA in 2010. It was the PKB that was valid from 2010 to 2012.  While it was still valid, the agreed CBA extended until 2013.

The CBA should had been renewed and renegotiated in 2013. However, due to the split, hence the leadership dualism, the negotiation failed to take place. The SP PLN was split into two unions: SP PLN third floor and SP PLN ninth floor. Beside, there are another fraction of workers that established another 3 more unions.

This split then weakened the union, so that they were unable to reach an agreement in the PKB negotiations. In turn, this has an impact on the interests of workers.

During the period where there was no CBA, the board of director issued regulations without any consultation with the union. Ironically, the issued directors’ regulations mostly harmed the workers. To name some, the provision about workers mutation, career system, and also a provision about prohibition for workers to marry co- workers. If a worker marries her/ his co- worker that works in PT PLN, one of them must resign.

This provision was actually a product of the old CBA that stated that the board of directors is allowed to create a system of Human Resources (HR) with a communication with the union. The clause ” with a communication” was interpreted as notification to the union after the provision was issued, not as consultation and then agreed by the union. The Communication can be done in written or oral manner. When it was done in oral manner, there was no proof/ evidence of it. On the ground that the the communication was done, the board of directors issued different provisions, specifically on the new HR provision during the time when CBA was non-existent.

In 2016, there was an attempt to renegotiate the CBA by the union. However, the negotiation did not complete, hence did not result in the new CBA. The main problem for this failure was the dualism of leadership on the union side.

Luckily, the leaders of SP PLN immediately realize that. Finally, the leaders of third floor and ninth floor SP PLN took a step to unite themselves just like before.

In 2019, the unification of the third and ninth floor happened after the dualism for ten years. As mentioned earlier, the unification was initiated by the members who wanted to unite. They were tired of the endless leadership dualism of trade union in PT PLN. On the other hand, the company kept issuing regulations that harmed the workers.

The Negotiation

The newly unified union’s priority was to formulate and negotiate the new CBA.

However, it was not that easy. Each union (beside SP PLN, it is existing 3 more unions) claimed that it was the rightful and held the mandate to represent the workers in the negotiation. Under this situation, the union held a membership verification in order to determine which union had the right to represent the members in the negotiation.

The membership verification resulted in SP PLN had the majority membership with 29,452 members. Together with SP PLN, there was another union that was decided to participate in the negotiation.

However, the problem did not end there. There were misconceptions between unions that slowed the negotiation process down. While the negotiation was still going, the management of PT PLN filed a lawsuit to Jakarta Selatan District Court to determine which union was to represent in the negotiation. The District Court rejected the suit as it was an industrial relation case, not a criminal one.

The next mezasure taken was to get a recommendation from the Ministry of Manpower on who or which union has the right to be in the negotiation. The Ministry of Manpower’s recommendation was for the unions to do membership verification. The result of the verification was SP PLN to represent the workers in the negotiation as other unions only had less than 10% membership each.

In essence, now SP PLN was the rightful representative in the CBA negotiation. And it was proven that with the support of all members and the negotiation team, the negotiation that was started on August 19 was concluded and signed on October 12, 2022.

The result was a CBA consisted of 15 chapters and 90 articles. The articles were formulated by the elaboration of several agreements discussed during the negotiations of 2016’s CBA, board of directors’ decisions issued during the absence of CBA, and the newest draft. It was acknowledged that the end product, the new CBA, wasso much better than the initial draft proposed by SP PLN.

Old and New CBA, What’s theDifference?

The Chairperson of SP PLN, Muhammad Abrar Ali, said that the result of the negotiation was fantastic. “The newly agreed CBA is beyond our expectation. It is so much better than the draft that we proposed. It all thanks to the solid members of SP PLN and also all the functionaries,” he said.

“I am optimistic that the CBA that was signed on 12 October 2022 would be able to improve the company’s performance, and it is a collective effort to accelerate the company’s transformation process. The agreed CBA became the momentum for PLN’s breakthrough. The union had been waiting for this momentum for more than ten years. Through this agreement, the management and union could then harmonized their mission and vision in order to achieve PLN’s objectives,” he added.

He also asserted that the CBA had helped to unite the union’s and the management’s vision and mission. Each had its own that many times are contradicting. However, after both discussed the company’s vision and mission, both parties then found that actually they had similar vision and mission.

“We could find it. We agreed that PLN is the heart of Indonesia, especially in managing the electricity. We work together to contribute to the nation and the state,” he added.

In the same occasion, the head of the Negotiation Team who was also the General Secretary of SP PLN, Bintoro Suryo Sudibyo, asserted that “Thanks to SP PLN’s negotiation strategy that the union could conviced the board of directors to agree to what we had proposed.”

“This is very encouraging. The most important is that this CBA’s orientation is to improve workers’ welfare that essentially is the right of the workers and their families. Even all the things that are related to nominal, it will be the minimum amount. It means, when PLN is in financial trouble, that will be the minimum amount that will be paid to the workers. But if the situation is better, the workers will receive a bigger amount just like what was agreed in the CBA,” he said.

Bintoro then mentioned in detail what are the differenced between the old and the new CBA.

In the old CBA, the remainder of annual leave (the days that is not taken by workers) can not be taken the next year. In the new CBA, half of the remainder of annual leave can be used in the upcoming year. For example, if a worker has a remainder twelve days of annual leave this year. He/she will have six days (half of the remainder) of extra annual leave next year. So the total of his/her annual leave next year will be eighteen days instead of twelve.

In the old CBA, the annual leave deducts workers’ workhours. But in the new one, it does not. The consequence of workhour deduction is the decrease of thier benefits. With the new applicable CBA that ensure workers do not loss their workhour due to leave, workers tend to take their annual leave now.

In the new CBA, a long period of rest is awarded every six years and the duration is three months. While in the old CBA, the validity period of long period of rest was two years, now, it is six years. It means that although it has been two years since the last long period of rest, a worker still could take the leave before the period ends.

In addition, the long period of rest would annihilate the annual leave in the old CBA. While in the new CBA, this type of rest does not deduct the number of annual leave nor wage. Meanwhile, the number of days of rest used to be a fifteen days cycle, now it is ten days of cycle. In other words, the long period of rest is ninety days in total can be taken nine times. Under old CBA, although the leave is only taken once and the number of days is less than fifteen days, then it is taken.

In the new CBA, there is also a recomposition. In the old one, the fix cost and variable cost are almost equal in number. Monthly payroll and bonus are also almost equal. Finally, it was agreed to be 70% fix cost and 30% variable cost. With the changes in the composition, at least there are three benefits. First, the uncertain cost become certain. For example, bonus. The old CBA said that if one received a disciplinary sanction, one would lose one’s bonus. The new one says that one will still get the bonus although one receive a disciplinary sanction because the bonus is a fixed cost. Second, the money that we get now is different from the the money that we will get tomorrow. Third, reduce the company’s actuarial burden. This is because the long term liability that used to be very big, now it si withdrawn forward.

Another difference is about maternity leave. The old CBA said that maternity leave is only three months, now, it is four months. The old CBA also said that maternity leave reduced the number of annual leave and workhour. The new one is the opposite.

For joint-holiday-leave, the new CBA does not reduce the number of annual leave and long period of rest. Even for workers who work during joint-holiday-leave will be awarded with compensation. For example, workers who work in Idul Fitri days or Chrismast. The old CBA said that no compensation for them as it is an obligation.

The old CBA said that workers only receive one holiday allowance ever year. Now, workers will receive two holiday allowance per year. Because the amount is minimum, there is a possibility to get more than once.

For dispensation or leaving work but does not deduct the wage, the new CBA makes a significant improvement. The old CBA said that for their wedding, a worker only got three days, but now they will get five days. It also applies for a worker who marries their childre off. They will get five days instead of three days off the work.

For husbands whose wives are giving birth, they only got two days leave. But now, they could ge a month without any wage deduction. For parents, parent-in-laws, wives, children whose family member(s) dies, they would get five days. It used to be only three days.

In addition to that, workers whose family member dies but in different city, they would get extra leave up to twelve days to account for the travel needed.

To take care of their sick parents/parent-in-laws/husbands/wives/children, workers get two days leave. For graduation (theirs or their children’s) they will get a day leave. These provisions did not exist in the old CBA.

When there is a force majeur such as natural disaster, workers are also entitled of a leave, maximum of a month.

The old CBA said that workers would receive 1.5 million rupiah per workers for glasses. The new one increases the amount to be 5 million rupiah per workers. While it used to be once in three years, now it is once in two years. It used to be only the workers who got the benefit, now it is also the family: husband/wife and children. But only for once.

There are also improvement in assistance and facilities for trade union. There are three assistance provided by the company. First, the check of system. Second, direct assistance that is calculated based on the number of the member, and third, trade union secretariat. There are three conditions to get those assistance from the company. The conditions are as follow: the number of member must be a least 10% of the total workers; second, the organizational structure on DPD level must be at least 50% plu sone from the parent unit; and third, a secretariat will be provided in the area where the union is registered.

Under this new CBA, SP PLN is the only union in PT PLN that is eligible for the assistance and facilities. Therefore, it is SP PLN who will receive facilities from the company in the form of direct assistance, check of system for membership dues, and secretariat. However, other unions who are not eligible for this are allowed to do their function in the industrial relation. They just will not receive any facilities from the company.

The agreed CBA regulates the age of retirement is 56. But now it is being discussed to change it to be 58 years or more. Therefore, the CBA says that should the ministry allow, the age of retirement is 58 years or more or will follow the decision. While the amount of pension also increase.

Working after retirement used to be based on the company’s need and willingness of the retiree. But now it is different. Other than based on the company’s need and willingness of the retiree, it is also based on the request of the retiree. So it does not have to wait for the company. It used to be bound and must wait until the end, but now, they can propose the new ones.

There are new benefits and allowance for performance incentive under the new CBA. Worekrs will get several types of allowance in addition to P1, which is the fixed income. There were only P2 and P3 for allowance, but now there is P2 1A, P2 1B. And there is also P2 1A, P2 1B, and also P3 1A dan P3 1B.

PLN did not cover the workers’ wives’ health insurance if the wives work in different company. Now, the wives who work in other company/office whose health insurance is BPJS  are included in the health insurance provided by PLN. Principally, anyone with health insurance that is lower than the one provided by PLN will be covered.

There was not any official travel, now there is. Workers who choose to work outside their areas, they will get official trave allowance. If his/her family member(s) dies, he/she will get official travel allowance to attend their funeral. The worker’s family who must travel to bury  her/him will also receive official travel allowance.

Another thing that the new CBA regulates is related to mutation. A worker who will retire in three months can propose a mutation/move to other area/city. He/she will receive the movement allowance. The company must not reject the request.

Workers who work under high risk condition, use a lot of physical force, when they turn 45 years old, they must be transferred to other position that does not require physical labor. Including workers who work in frontiers, outermost, and remoted areas, after two years, they have to be transferred to other areas which does not belong to the category of three. Prior to the CBA’s signed the union able to negotiate for the cancellation of pension age discrimination, therefore it will be no more pension age 46 for the HCMS employees. The decision benefited for more that 2000 employees

A worker can propose for a mutation based on their personal curcumstance such as to move with their husband/wife or children, or other specific reasons. Previously, workers who proposed a mutation/tranfer would be demoted. Now, they won’t be. Workers are allowed to propose mutation/transfer twice. Previously, it was only once. There were not any rules on when a worker would get an answer/decision on his/her mutation/transer request. Now, the company must answer or respond in 30 days at the latest. If there is not answers, the concerned official will receive a disciplinary sanction.

As for the categories of work accidents that result in death, total or partial permanent disability, burns, and work-related illnesses, insurance are provided. So they will not only get treatment, but also get benefits.

In the case of  a worker who experience a work accident either disabled or dies, assistance is given to the child’s education until they graduate from S1. Their children will also be given a priority to work in the company during an open recruitment.

Another thing that is new is that the company does not only guarantee physical health. But also mentally, in the form of psychological rehabilitation as needed.

Previously, umroh was included in training before retirement, now it is not included in training. Umrah is a separate facility. 1 time umrah allowance with husband/wife. Meanwhile, training ahead of retirement is a separate facility.

Working after Retirement

Will the new CBA at PT PLN (Persero) have an impact on the subsidiary companies? There will be an indirect effect.

This is due to the commitment in the CBA the subsidiary companies must provide the same welfare and career opportunities for workers who are assigned to work there. Those workers must not receive any lower benefits. Therefore,whether they like it or not, the subsidiaries must ratify PT PLN’s CBA and adjust to as well comply with the provisions in the new CBA.

There has been a communication that HR wants the union members who are assigned to subsidiaries to be members of SP PLN.


Currently, the technical guidelines for CBA implementation (juknis) are being discussed. It has been agreed in the CBA that the technical guidelines must be discussed and agreed upon with the unions, and will become effective as of October 2022 even though the discussions will end in 2023.

Some of the technical guidelines that are being discussed are the workers talent management system, career system, reward management system, performance management system, discipline regulations, and also the health care system.

So far, SP PLN has conducted socialization on the contents of the CBA to several main units. Majority of workers appreciate and welcome the new CBA. Even workers said they were satisfied with the contents of the CLA.

As a result, the membership of the SP PLN workers union has increased. Many workers then register as members of SP PLN. Workers believe that SP PLN is able to defend, protect and fight for the interests of workers.

Again, as written at the beginning of the article, this proves that unity will strengthen. As the slogan of the movement is often repeated, “Workers united cannot be defeated.”

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