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Wildcat Strike at Hotel Melia Bali

Workers Stage 1.5 Hour Strike at Hotel Melia Bali Over Payment of Medical Claims.

(9/17/2011) Just a few weeks after being recognized by the Department of Manpower as one of three hotels in Bali with exemplary management-employee relations [See: Just Trying to Keep the Customer Satisfied] , the Hotel Melia Bali suffered a wildcat strike of 1.5 hours duration on Tuesday, September 13, 2011.

According to NusaBali, the strike was over the method in which reimbursement is paid for medical expenses which workers allege violates the hotel's labor agreement.

The agreement between the workers and the Hotel reportedly provides for free medical service at a local hospital. In the past, employees of the hotel and their immediate family members needed only to report to the hospital for treatment, which was paid subsequently by the hotel.

Effective August 15, 2011, however, the hospital changed its policies requiring all the hotel’s employees and their dependents must pay for medical services at the time of treatment and seek reimbursement from the hotel after-the-fact.

The head of the Indonesia Workers Union, Putu Yadnyana, said the change of policy suggested a change had taken place in the cooperation agreement between the Hotel and the Hospital that negatively affected the welfare of The Melia’s workers.

The striking workers, numbering in the hundreds by NusaBali estimates but put at only 50 by Bali Manpower Agency officials, demanded they be allowed to meet directly with the Hotel’s general manager, Jim Boyles.

Following the short strike a meeting was held between the workers, the hotel’s management and representatives of Badung’s Manpower office.

The press reports that no resolution to the worker’s complaints was achieved at the closed-door meeting.  This, however, has been denied by the Hotel’s Human Resource Director, who told the press the problem had been completely resolved. This was also echoed by the head of the Badung Manpower office, Nyoman Predangga, who insisted an agreement was in hand between the workers and the hotel’s management.

Another Manpower official told the press that the hotel has agreed to return to the previous system in place before August 15, 2011, that immediately meets all the medical expenses incurred at the hospital by the Hotel’s workers and their dependents.

Wildcat strikes are generally not permitted under Indonesian labor law.