Solidarity for unfairly terminated Marriot workers at W Bali – Seminyak and Courtyard By Marriott Bandung escalates in the Asia-Pacific region as Marriott global management continues to ignore human rights violations and abusive labour practices in Indonesia as tourism recovers at the cost of workers.
Members of the IUF-affiliated FSPM continue to hold protest actions demanding the reinstatement of 12 unfairly terminated union leaders and members, including the union president. They were terminated in retaliation for reporting labour rights violations at the hotel.
On August 26, workers at Courtyard by Marriott in Bandung launched protest actions in response to the unfair termination of 15 workers including the union president.
Although management claims the terminations were for “efficiency” reasons, their dismissal followed the union’s request to the Manpower Department (labour department) to investigate violations of labour regulations at the hotel.
In April 2020 the union and Courtyard management negotiated an agreement on wage reductions during the temporary closure of the hotel. Union members agreed to temporary wage cuts in return for job security during the pandemic. Eventually it was agreed that workers would receive 50% of their basic salary during the temporary shutdown. Although management indicated in May 2020 they might impose temporary layoffs, the union opposed this and reported it to the Manpower Department. Management then maintained the terms of the agreement.
From August to December 2020 the temporary wage reduction was continued, but management first had to pay unpaid wages for May to July. The war arrears were eventually paid.
However in January 2021 management then broke the agreement by unilaterally imposing further wage cuts. Without any transparency or justification, the new round of wage reductions varied in the different departments of the hotel. This was as much as 70% in some departments. As the union had pointed out in April 2020, 50% of the basic wage is already less than the legal minimum wage. Now management was unilaterally cutting this further.
Management also abolished the weekly day off and overtime pay. Instead of overtime pay workers would receive two days off. All three of these unilateral changes violate labour regulations. After management refused to respond to requests by the union to reverse these changes and negotiate other changes that could help to reduce costs, the union reported the violations to the Manpower Department on 15 June. On 8 July the labour department carried out an inspection of the hotel to verify these violations and met with union members. Three weeks later management summoned 12 union members, including the union president, to a meeting and announced layoffs due to “efficiency”.
Of those issued with termination notices 12 union members, including the union president, refused to accept it since there was no negotiation with the union to explain the criteria for redundancies or the efficiency issues behind it. On 5 August the union made a proposal that the company offer voluntary early retirement, stop using outsourced contract workers, and stop hiring new employees. Management ignored this and pushed ahead with the terminations.
In a meeting on 12 August, the union reminded the management of the sacrifice union members already made to help the business through this difficult time. Workers endured pay cuts for one and a half years, pushing them below the legal minimum wage and well below a living wage. This sacrifice was in return for job security. Now management’s actions have taken that job security away.
Also, by terminating the elected union president, management has denied all union members their right to union representation. This further undermines job security and rights at Courtyard by Marriott in Bandung.
After working hard throughout the pandemic as essential food industry workers, members of the IUF-affiliated United Workers Union (UWU) are on strike for decent wages and fair treatment.
For workers at the General Mills factory in Rooty Hill in New South Wales, Australia, there is no recognition or reward for their hard work or long hours as essential food industry workers making brands like Old El Paso Mexican Food and Latina Fresh Pasta. This includes casual workers working for more than five years in insecure jobs. Despite being essential in the pandemic, General Mills is refusing to make them permanent.
“In Europe and Australia, third quarter organic net sales grew 7%, primarily driven by growth in Old El Paso Mexican Food and Haagen-Dazs retail ice cream.”
Despite contributing to this sales growth and profit through their hard work, workers in Australia are being denied a fair wage.
IUF affiliates are mobilizing to support the strike at General Mills in Rooty Hill.
After paying out 100% of profits to “loyal shareholders”, Naga World Hotel Casino terminates over 1,300 workers who worked through the pandemic
After months of ignoring union calls to improve COVID-19 safety measures, Cambodia’s largest hotel leisure resort Naga World Hotel Casino announced the mass redundancy of over 1,300 workers for “business reasons”. The mass retrenchment includes over 600 union members and union leaders – including the union president, vice president and general secretary.
Only 18 months ago the union president Sithar Chhim was reinstated after strike action by union members against her unfair dismissal in September 2019. Now Sithar Chhim has been terminated again, along with union vice president Sokha Chun and union general secretary Sokhorn Chhim.
The integrated hotel casino resort is owned by the Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp which declares itself to be “one of the world’s most profitable gaming companies, and the largest gaming entertainment company in the Mekong Region.” On March 8, 2021 – exactly a month before the announcement of mass layoffs on April 8 – NagaCorp announced a USD 102 million profit and that 100% of the profits for the second half of 2020 will be paid out to “loyal” shareholders:
“As a reward to the Shareholders who believe in the long-term growth of the Group despite today’s difficult times and in order to alleviate any sufferings, if any, of these loyal Shareholders who have stayed on faithfully with us during the COVID-19 crisis, the Board has recommended an unprecedented 100% dividend payout of net profits generated for the second half of 2020 as final dividend for the year ended 31 December 2020.”
After years of refusing to recognize the right of the union to represent its members, management declared that any negotiation over redundancies would be individual not through the union, leaving each worker alone without any representation to be bullied by a multibillion dollar company. Without representation, information or options, and facing economic hardship after months of reduced wages, hundreds of workers were compelled to accept “voluntary” redundancy.
More than 600 union members refused redundancy and are demanding the right to negotiate the terms and conditions of restructuring through their union. Having already terminated the union leadership, management refuses to negotiate.
Over 2,000 union members have signed a mass petition to be submitted to the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training as a formal complaint, demanding reinstatement and an end rights violations and forced redundancies.