Garment company in Indonesia reinstates union leader

Rahmawati became president of the PT Tainan Local Union in August 2021. In January 2022, the company began sending warning letters to Rahmawati, saying it was unable to meet the target of production.

After three warning letters, Rahmawati was fired on May 18 after 16 years of service. Garteks criticized the multinational apparel company for its union busting action and filed a complaint with the North Jakarta labor office.

In August, the labor relations ombudsman said PT Tainan had violated labor regulations and the collective agreement. He decided that the company should reinstate Rahmawati in his original position with back pay.

Following interventions by IndustriALL Global Union and US brand Jcrew, which sources from PT Tainan, the company has signed a settlement agreement with Garteks under which Rahmawati will be reinstated to her original position on November 1 .

In addition, the company is committed to respecting workers’ freedom of association and ending gender-based violence.

“We thank IndustriALL for supporting the fight to reach an agreement. And thanks to Jcrew and PT Tainan for joining the social dialogue, which meant coming to a satisfactory outcome,” said Garteks General Secretary Trisnur Priyanto.

The three union leaders were fired by PT Tainan in August 2021, shortly after the local union was established. At the time, they signed a settlement agreement with the employer accepting the dismissal on the condition that the company stop interfering with Garteks members’ right to organize.

“We welcome Rahmawati’s reinstatement and take this opportunity to reiterate that PT Tainan must allow workers to organize freely. This would include the reinstatement of all sacked union leaders to their ranks,” says IndustriALL textile director Christina Hajagos-Clausen.

Michael O. Stutler