Some 2,000 Indonesian workers flocked to the Embassy of Japan in Jakarta on Wednesday. These were people rallying about the lay-offs and the unfair labor practices of Japanese companies in the country. However, said embassy was only one of four where similar rallies were also held; the others were those of Italy, Malaysia and South Korea.
Said Iqbal, chairperson of the Confederation of the Indonesian Labor Unions, said that the embassies were chosen because the companies from these countries were notorious violators of labor rights. The protest in the Japanese embassy was the result of a massive lay-off at PT Mitsuba Indonesia Pipe Parts, a Japanese company that manufactured car parts. A representative of the labor union said of their demands, “we want them to be rehired.”
Some Indonesian nationals working at Japanese firms in Indonesia feel like the embassy of Japan could be a great factor in turning these unfair labor practices around. “We are pretty sure that if the Japanese Embassy intervenes, the companies will listen,” according to Rustam, a 42-year-old employee at PT Honda Prospect Motor, a Japanese company that assembles Honda cars and components. He also said that eight union representatives have met with Japanese diplomats and gave the embassy a week to answer their demands, or else the protesters “will be back in a bigger rally.”
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