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Monumental Labor Unrest

Worker Protests at Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park in Bali Close Operations for One Day.

(5/2/2011) After disruptions caused by workers' demonstrations that momentarily blocked the entrance to the Garuda Wisnu Kencana monument the day before, operations had already returned to normal by Wednesday, April 27, 2011.

The mass termination of 46 employees hailing from the communities surrounding the GWK Cultural Park resulted in protest demonstrations that included the felling of large trees to block access to the facility.

The fired workers claim their dismissal was unilateral and without prior notice, while Indonesian labor law requires bilateral negotiations and counseling before any dismissal from employment can take place. The disgruntled workers are also advancing complaints that GWK is failing to pay minimum wage levels and outsourcing positions at the park to unregulated outside agencies. According to a report in Nusa Bali, GWK is also being accused of unfair and illegal treatment in how they employ "Daily Workers."

The Department of Manpower Steps In

Quoted in Nusa Bali, the head of the Social and Manpower Office for Badung (Disonaker), Tjok Ngurah Bagus Agung, said he is waiting for wage level reports from GWK so he can verify that the minimum salary level of Rp. 1.21 million (US$134.50) is paid every employee each month. Companies found not to be paying the minimum wage can be sanctioned in a variety of ways, including jail terms for the subject companies' directors.

Addressing claims of abuse regarding the employment of daily workers, Agung confirmed that GWK's use of 66 daily workers is illegal. Daily workers are only allowed for seasonal workers and, as such, are not permitted at GWK where staff are entitled to permanent employment status after a specified period.

The head of the labor union at GWK , Komang Suka, has called on the Department of Manpower to compel GWK to convert daily workers who have worked for at least two years to permanent employee status at GWK.