1998年蘇哈托政結束，勞工運動的次數也因政府的管制較鬆散而變得比較頻繁。然而由於政治經濟的不穩定，使得雖然政府減少了對勞工運動的壓制，勞工處境及權益的改善仍是很有限的。 There are numerous labors in Indonesia, but the labor movements are obviously very few. So, how did the Indonesian labors struggle for their own rights? This thesis will review the development of Indonesia’s labor movements from the Dutch colonial period to the end of the Suharto regime, and explore the political and economic background.
In the early twentieth-century Indonesia, many trade unions and labor organizations had close relations and interactions with the Communist Party. Under the colonial ruling, especially during the economic depression, Indonesian people had a difficult time. The farmers and labors in particular lived very hard. Therefore, the Communist Party’s appeals to overthrow imperialism or colonialism became very attractive to them at that time.
After the independence of Indonesia in 1945, nearly all the large-scale labor movements were led or held by the communists. But labor organizations also had close interactions with the Sukarno government. Some trade unions were dominated by the ruling party—“Indonesian National Party”.
Since 1965, the Army engaged in annihilating the communists, and trade unions were repressed too. Moreover for the purpose of enhancing economic growth and foreign investment, labor movements were suppressed by the authorities. After 1990, with the change of economic conditions, strikes and demonstrations of labors had increased. Indonesian government also amended the laws and raised the minimum wage from time to time.
President Suharto fell from power in 1998, and the political and economic situation of Indonesia was rather unstable. Meanwhile the labor movements arose more frequently because the government had loosened controls on labor movements. However the improvement in labor’s treatment and rights was quite limited.