When companies claim “we’re a family” workers are exposed to more abuse and rights violations

In 2011 when the IUF was engaged in discussions with the global management of a leading food and personal care goods company over abusive precarious employment arrangements at a tea factory in India, the factory manager called all the workers together in a “town hall” meeting (a meeting on the factory floor). He started by criticizing the union for raising the issue with global management through the IUF, and added “fuck the IUF!” for good measure. He went on to say that the dispute with the union is a “family matter” describing it as “a fight between husband and wife”. He then asked rhetorically: “And what happens when there’s a fight between husband and wife?” To which a worker shouted out, “The relatives come running!” Everyone laughed. The factory manager let loose with more swearing and verbal abuse, demanding he be shown respect. When an interpreter translated the audio recording she was shocked by the swearing that followed. (It can’t be reprinted here.) But our members were not surprised at all.

In the corporate world the use of “we’re a family” supposedly refers to the care that the company has for its employees, mutual loyalty and commitment. But in reality it establishes the factory manager or general manager as the “father” and workers as “the children.” This paternalism allows a dangerous assertion of absolute power, which then opens the door to all sorts of disciplinary action and abuse, including sexual harassment. As our members often comment: “What kind of family do they come from?”

Another question that comes up time and again when management declares “we’re a family” is: who exactly is included in the family? The widespread abuse of precarious employment arrangements results in a large proportion of workers engaged on a casual or fixed-term basis with lower wages, fewer benefits and greater insecurity. They are decidedly not in the family. Nor are workers in the outsourced and third-party operations who make a tremendous contribution to business growth and profits, but do not benefit from it.

Back in 2011 none of our members working in any transnational company in the region were surprised by the “we’re a family” rhetoric (or the abuse that comes with it). A decade later the claim by management that “we’re a family” remains widespread and a younger generation of management seems to actually believe it.

Writing in The Atlantic, Joe Pinsker, warns of the dangers of this and how “we’re a family” translates in the workplace:

When I hear something like We’re like family here, I silently complete the analogy: We’ll foist obligations upon you, expect your unconditional devotion, disrespect your boundaries, and be bitter if you prioritize something above us.

Pinsker argues that from a business point of view this is counter-productive:

When a business is presented as a family, its workers may feel pressure to pledge an unreasonable degree of loyalty to their employer, putting up with long hours, mistreatment, and the erosion of work-life boundaries, all in the spirit of harmony and a shared purpose. [See Joe Pinsker, “The Dark Side of Saying Work Is ‘Like a Family'”, The Atlantic, February 17, 2022.]

Our members across the region share a common experience of this. Management frequently mismanages staffing and scheduling and turns to our members to asked them to undertake unplanned overtime, often unpaid. The request (often communicated via WhatsApp or Messenger with the requisite emojis to show it’s all very friendly) is presented as voluntary but is loaded with pressure. Saying no is disloyal and lets everyone down, there will be consequences in any performance review, and you should do it because we’re family.

Saying no to excessive and irregular working hours not only shows a lack of loyalty and obligation fitting for a family, it is also reported upwards to higher management as a lack of “flexibility” among workers. With local management failing to hire enough workers and mismanaging schedules and planning, workers are then asked 40 minutes before the end of their shift to do an extra two hours. If they say no (because their real family is expecting them to be home), they are deemed disloyal and higher management is told that union members are not flexible enough.

This happened most recently in the Malaysian factory of a leading global dairy company whose corporate management used this to justify the hiring of migrant workers recruited from overseas. Migrant workers on short-term contracts would be more “flexible”. The subsequent raid by the immigration police and detention of the migrant workers recruited and employed illegally demonstrated that flexibility actually meant vulnerability (no power to say, No!) And at no point were they considered family.

One of the most common issues raised by fast food and restaurant workers in the region is the prevalence of “loyalty work”. Loyalty work is the unpaid work that restaurant workers are obliged to undertake at the end of each shift. It can range from 15 minutes to two hours. It is not compulsory but is obligatory – in the sense of family obligation. Working without pay at the end of a shift expresses loyalty to the company and co-workers and is reinforced by the same family rhetoric.

As our members in food services point out, this “loyalty” is not mutual. It only goes one way. Workers are expected to work without pay but the company can still reassign, transfer or fire them without hesitation. In the IUF Asia/Pacific Food Services Workers Meeting held on June 26, 2022, restaurant and fast food workers from 13 countries all recounted the same experiences and agreed unanimously that “loyalty work” is simply wage theft.

Ironically, on the few occasions that digital platform food delivery riders might encounter a real human being representing management, they also hear “we’re a family”. This is in a situation where companies like Food Panda are fighting an all out battle to prevent legislation that would establish their responsibility as employers.

In October 2021, Joshua A. Luna wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review with the illuminating title: “The Toxic Effects of Branding Your Workplace a ‘Family'”. Luna points out that calling the company a family not only exposes employees to abuse, but also extends loyalty to covering up any wrongdoing:

Numerous examples and research show that overly loyal people are more likely to participate in unethical acts to keep their jobs and are also more likely to be exploited by their employer. These could manifest as being asked to work unreasonable hours or on projects or assignments unrelated to your role, or keeping things under wraps because it is in the company’s (read: family) best interest. We’re all in this together, so you have to play your part, right?

What corporate management does not seem to understand is that “family loyalty” can be applied by local management to cover up all sorts of mismanagement, non-compliance and corruption. In our recent experience, a leading global company with a substantial water business in Indonesia failed completely in its corporate governance and oversight to identify massive and widespread corruption. There can be no doubt that the notion of being “family” played a crucial role in preventing any whistle-blowing. In fact, the whistle-blowers were terminated for their breach of the cardinal rule of loyalty.

The consequences of this can be very dangerous. Family loyalty in the workplace or company is one of the most common forms of pressure that workers face to under-report or misreport unsafe work, industrial accidents and injuries. Again it’s the rhetoric of “we’re in this together” and that covering up injuries and accidents is in the family’s best interests. Far from being rhetoric, this is literally putting workers’ lives at risk.

As Justin Pot from the firm Zapier advised companies in a blog post on June 4, 2021:

Your company isn’t a family, and I think pretending otherwise is unhealthy and unproductive.

Under the sub-heading, “Families don’t fire people”, Pot observes:

I bet you’ve disappointed your mother countless times—I know I’ve disappointed mine. Mom never fired me for poor performance, though, and she also didn’t lay me off when quarterly projections didn’t hit the target metrics. Family loyalty isn’t based on performance because that would be absurd.

But companies are different. They don’t employ people out of love or loyalty because companies, by definition, can’t feel those things. Your company employs you because what you do is valuable – at least, valuable enough to justify your salary.

Luna’s article in the Harvard Business Review also warns that in the “family” approach, employers being the “parent” and employees “the children” can have serious consequences in terms of disempowerment:

These dynamics can also leave employees feeling unempowered (the parents usually decide, and the children follow orders) to stand up for themselves and take on work that falls outside of their comfort zone. This allows personalities and pre-determined dynamics to take precedent over what is expected to do their job well.

Like all forms of paternalism the whole notion of “we’re a family” in corporate approaches is rooted in the question of power. It not only establishes the employer or management as parents and workers as children, but declares everyone else to be outside the family. This is one of the reasons why the notion of the company as a family persists today despite its repeated failure and obvious risks. It allows management to resist unions and to encourage workers to refuse to join unions on the basis that: We’re a family and we don’t need these outsiders!

In this regard there is a strong North American influence in management ideology and practice in the Asia-Pacific region today. Unions are seen as hostile third parties that interfere in the relationship between management and employees. In fact, vast financial resources are directed to consultants and law firms whose sole task is described as “union avoidance”. When a major global food company advertised for HR managers in North America it explicitly required “experience in union avoidance”.

The damage to workers and their ability to exercise their internationally recognized human rights is clear. Article 23 (4) of The UN Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to form or join a union to protect their interests. The ILO established this as a fundamental right. There is no qualifier or footnote stating, “except if the employment relationship is like a family!” Yet calling the company or workplace a “family” somehow justifies the negation of those rights.

This also damages companies. Few managers actually understand industrial relations anymore and even fewer practice it. This rapidly disappearing group of experienced industrial relations managers know that good industrial relations are vital to any successful business. And in an era that demands greater sustainability, it is even more important than ever.

Good industrial relations ensure workers have collective representation through their unions and guarantees they can access their rights. It is good industrial relations based on a healthy mutual respect that resolves disputes and strikes and boosts morale and productivity. Workers empowered by their unions can speak out against gender-based violence, sexual harassment and corruption. In this respect higher levels of management will hear what they should (and need) to hear regarding the realities in the workplace. It strengthens corporate governance. Calling the workplace a family merely reinforces the unchecked power of local management and undermines corporate governance. It’s not a family, it’s business.

The factory where we had the dispute in 2011 continued to be mismanaged and eventually closed. The company ignored the collective bargaining rights of our members, violated the international labour conventions they claim to adhere to, and forcibly terminated all of the workers without negotiations. So much for family.





Fishworkers in the Philippines demand recognition of their constitutional right to organize, denounce fishing industry’s fraudulent voluntary code

Fishworkers in the Philippines demand recognition of their constitutional right to organize, denounce fishing industry’s fraudulent voluntary code

As a counter-summit to the official Tuna Congress in General Santos City in the Philippines, SENTRO held its 4th National Fishworkers Congress September 2-3, 2022. Hundreds of fisherfolks, commercial fishers and canning factory workers attending the Fishworkers Congress angrily denounced the new Voluntary Code of Good Practices signed by the SOCSKSARGEN Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries (SAFFAI) Tripartite Council during the official Tuna Festival.

“The so-called Voluntary Code, is nothing but a PR exercise that SAFFAI is using to whitewash its horrendous record in wantonly violating the rights and welfare of its workers”, said Herbert Demos, Regional Secretary of SENTRO SOCSARGEN.

“Its promises to uphold safely and health, provide education and skills upgrading, utilize alternative dispute mechanisms, respect labor standards and use retrenchments as a last resort will have no chance of being enforced so long as the industry continues to ignore workers’ right to freedom of association.”

The fraudulent Voluntary Code claims to be tripartite but has no legitimate labour representation. It is designed to avoid the legal obligations of DO-156

The Voluntary Code was signed without properly consulting the labor sector. The labor representatives who signed the document were members of the management and their allies.

SENTRO has long been criticizing SAFFAI for actively blocking the enforcement of Department Order No.156 Rules and Regulations governing the Working and Living Conditions of Fishers on board Fishing Vessels engaged in Commercial Fishing Operation which was issued in 2016.

“8 years after the issuance of DO-156, none of our commercial fishers have enjoyed its guarantee that they get at least the minimum wage on top of their rightful share of the catch and all the labor standards are respected.”

More importantly, workers in the canning factories and those onboard commercial fishing vessels have yet to access their full trade union rights. The extensive use of contractualization, the denial of employee-employer relations and the militant anti-union attitude of employers are the key factors preventing unionization.

“We call on all those government representatives who signed the Voluntary Code to withdraw their imprimatur unless SAFFAI agrees to subject the same to meaningful consultation and takes into consideration the respect for workers’ constitutional right to self-organize, collectively bargain and to strike.”

“मज़दूर कोई बिकाऊ वस्तु नहीं है” लेकिन पीस रेट वेतन, कोटा और डर का दबाव यह सुनिश्चित करता है।

“मज़दूर कोई बिकाऊ वस्तु नहीं है” लेकिन पीस रेट वेतन, कोटा और डर का दबाव यह सुनिश्चित करता है।

10 मई 1944 को अपनाई गई फिलाडेल्फिया घोषणा ने 1919 में स्थापित अंतर्राष्ट्रीय श्रम संगठन (ILO) के लक्ष्यों और उद्देश्यों की पुष्टि की और परिभाषित किया। उसका सबसे पहल अनुछेद कहता हैं:
() मज़दूर कोई बिकाऊ वस्तु नहीं है;

यह घोषणा एक महत्वपूर्ण ऐतिहासिक मोड़ पर आई, स्वतंत्रता के लिए संघर्ष कर रहे कई देशों के लिए उपनिवेशवाद के अंत की शुरुआत को चिह्नित करते हुए। कई नए स्वतंत्र देशों में उपनिवेशवाद के अवशेष भाषा, शिक्षा, कानून, सीमाओं, भूमि के स्वामित्व और साथ ही शासन की संरचनाओं में जारी रहेंगे। औपनिवेशिक प्रथाएं नस्लवाद, भेदभाव, गुलामी और बंधुआ मजदूरी के विभिन्न रूपों के साथ-साथ भव्य भ्रष्टाचार में भी जारी रहेंगी। (1)

उन प्रथाओं में से एक जो फलती-फूलती रहेगी, वह है पीस रेट मजदूरी और कोटा की प्रणाली, जिसे श्रमिकों को अधिक उत्पादन करने के लिए कड़ी मेहनत करने के लिए मजबूर करने के लिए बनाया गया है। आधुनिक उद्योग में पुरस्कार और प्रोत्साहन की एक व्यवस्था के रूप में समझा जाता है – और वर्तमान गिग अर्थव्यवस्था और तकनीकी दुनिया में अवसर और स्वरोजगार विशेषाधिकार के रूप में – पीस रेट मजदूरी  प्रणाली श्रम अनुशासन में निहित है। यह श्रमिकों को मजबूर करने के लिए बनाया गया है; श्रमिकों से अधिक काम निकालवाने के लिए।

इस प्रणाली की प्रभावशीलता यह है कि ऐसा प्रतीत होता है कि श्रमिक खुद से अधिक काम करने के लिए कड़ी मेहनत कर रहे हैं। तो सोच यह है कि श्रमिक लक्ष्य और कोटा को पूरा करने के लिए खुद ही खूब प्रयत्न कर रहे हैं उस काम के लिए जो वह पीस रेट मजदूरी में कर रहे हैं। ऐसा करने की मजबूरी को नियोक्ताओं द्वारा मनुष्यों की अंतर्निहित प्रतिस्पर्धा को पोषित करने के रूप में उचित ठहराया जाता है, अक्सर इसे सही ठहराने के लिए डार्विन के “सर्वाइवल ऑफ द फिटेस्ट” का दुरुपयोग किया जाता है। (2)

करोड़ों मजदूरों के लिए यह मजबूरी – यह अथक दबाव – नहीं बदला है। पीस रेट मजदूरी और कोटा द्वारा लगाए गए दबाव एक आंतरिक प्रतिस्पर्धा करने की इच्छा से नहीं उपजा है, लेकिन केवल जीवित रहने के लिए हैं। ऐसा इसलिए होता है क्योंकि मजदूरों और उनके परिवारों को अच्छे स्वास्थ्य, शिक्षा, आवास और भोजन और पोषण और जीवन की बेहतर गुणवत्ता सुनिश्चित करने के लिए आवश्यक निश्चित निर्वाह मज़दूरी और सामाजिक सुरक्षा दोनों से वंचित किया जाता है। जैसा कि हमने कहीं और भी समझाया है, पीस रेट मजदूरी और कोटा बाल श्रम का एक प्रमुख चालक हैं।

पीस रेट मजदूरी और कोटे द्वारा बनाया गया दबाव, श्रमिकों के स्वास्थ्य पर विनाशकारी प्रभाव डालता है।

पीस रेट मजदूरी, कोटा या लक्ष्यों के दबाव में श्रमिकों को अपनी शारीरिक हद से ज़्यादा काम करते हैं। अत्यधिक काम और  बिना आराम या भोजन के  लंबे समय तक काम करना उतनी ही आम बात है बागान और कृषि श्रमिकों और मांस उद्योग के श्रमिकों के लिए जितनी यह बड़ी होटलों और दुनिया भर में फास्ट फूड चेन में श्रमिकों के लिए है। कोटा, लक्ष्य और पीस रेट मजदूरी, श्रमिकों को शारीरिक रूप जितना हो सके उससे अधिक समय तक काम करने के लिए मजबूर करते हैं। उनका दिमाग और तंत्रिका तंत्र उन्हें काम करना बंद करने और आराम करने के लिए कहते हैं। उनका शरीर बार-बार संकेत भेजता है (यानी दर्द)। कोटा उन्हें कहते हैं कि इस सब पर ध्यान न दें और काम करते रहें।(3)

आवश्यक समय जो कोटा पूरा करने या पीस रेट मजदूरी के माध्यम से पर्याप्त मजदूरी हासिल करने महत्वपूर्ण है। यह इतना महत्वपूर्ण है कि श्रमिकों को आराम ब्रेक, भोजन  ब्रेक और शौचालय ब्रेक को छोड़ना होगा और खुद को अपनी शारीरिक क्षमताओं से ज़्यादा काम करना होगा। दरअसल, समय न गंवाने और अपने लक्ष्यों तक पहुंचने के प्रयास में, श्रमिकों को व्यावसायिक स्वास्थ्य और सुरक्षा उपायों को छोड़ने के लिए मजबूर किया जाता है, जिससे उनके स्वास्थ्य और उनके जीवन के लिए जोखिम बढ़ जाता है। जब  पीस रेट मजदूरी  या कोटा के दबाव में जब श्रमिक काम करते है तोह श्रमिक व्यक्तिगत सुरक्षा उपकरण पेहेन्ने के लिए रुक नहीं सकते है या सावधानी से सुरक्षा निर्देशों का पालन नहीं कर सकते हैं क्योंकि वे उस समय कमाई खो रहे हैं। उस कमाई की जितनी अधिक आवश्यकता होगी, जोखिम उतना ही अधिक होगा।

नियोक्ता  पीस रेट मजदूरी और कोटा के प्रभावों की उपेक्षा करते हैं और इसके बजाय श्रमिकों को असुरक्षित तरीके से काम करने के लिए दोषी ठहराते हैं। सामूहिक सौदेबाजी के माध्यम से निर्वाह मजदूरी की गारंटी देने और आठ घंटे में सुरक्षित रूप से काम के बोझ को फिर से तय करने के बजाय, नियोक्ता सभी प्रकार के प्रशिक्षण शुरू करते हैं … और हर तरह की सजा। यह एक परेशान करने वाली विडंबना है कि दुनिया की सबसे बड़ी कंपनियां भी श्रमिकों को  पीस रेट मजदूरी और कोटा के दबाव में स्वास्थ्य और सुरक्षा को शॉर्टकट करने के लिए मजबूर करती हैं और फिर इन शॉर्टकट के लिए सजा की जटिल प्रणाली पेश करती हैं।

इसमें कोई शक नहीं है कि जैसे ही जलवायु परिवर्तन की वजह से तापमान बढ़ेंगे, वहीँ हीट स्ट्रेस या गर्मी की वजह से थकावट और हाइपरथर्मिया का अधिक खतरा होगा (4)। पानी पीने, छांव की तलाश और अभी आराम करने के लिए अगर मजदूर रुक नहीं सकते हैं, तो कल्पना कीजिए कि अगले दो दशकों में यह कैसा होगा। इन परिस्थितियों में,  पीस रेट मजदूरी और कोटा का दबाव कई और श्रमिकों को मार देगा।

आखिरकार, यह डर के बारे में है। पर्याप्त कमाई न होने का डर या अपनी नौकरी खोने का डर ज्यादातर श्रमिकों को जो पीस रेट मजदूरी और कोटा पर निर्भर हैं उनको मजबूर करता है। “टीम को निराश करना” के लिए दोषी ठहराए जाने का भी डर है, जो महत्वपूर्ण मानसिक तनाव उत्पन्न करता है। वास्तव में, मैं जिन कई युवा श्रमिकों से मिला हूं, उनके लिए पर्याप्त मेहनत न करने या टीम को निराश करने के लिए दोषी ठहराए जाने का डर उनकी नौकरी खोने के डर से कहीं अधिक है। फिर भी कई नियोक्ताओं के लिए ऐसा लगता है कि यह डर उनके आधुनिक रोजगार प्रथाओं की ज़रुरत है जिसके बिना उनका काम नहीं हो सकता।

फिलाडेल्फिया घोषणा के सत्तर साल बाद, हमें सवाल करना चाहिए कि हम पर्याप्त प्रगति क्यों नहीं कर रहे हैं। श्रम बहुत अधिक एक वस्तु है और इसे बनाए रखने वाले कारकों में से एक  पीस रेट मजदूरी प्रणाली, कोटा और लक्ष्य का दबाव है। यह वह दबाव है जो भय और निर्वाह मज़दूरी और सामाजिक सुरक्षा के अभाव पर निर्भर करता है।

इस डर पर काबू पाने और निर्वाह मजदूरी और सामाजिक सुरक्षा की अनुपस्थिति वास्तव में 10 मई 1944 को फिलाडेल्फिया घोषणा में घोषित दूसरे सिद्धांत पर निर्भर हो सकती है:

(बी) निरंतर प्रगति के लिए अभिव्यक्ति और संगठन की स्वतंत्रता आवश्यक है;

प्रगति करना शुरू करने का समय आ गया है।

डॉ मुहम्मद हिदायत ग्रीनफील्ड, आय.यु.फ एशिया/पसिफ़िक क्षेत्रीय सचिव

फिलीपींस में होटल हाउसकीपिंग श्रमिकों ने विरोध किया “कमरों का कोटा जानलेवा है!” अंतर्राष्ट्रीय श्रमिक स्मृति दिवस पर, 28 अप्रैल 2018


  1. भव्य भ्रष्टाचार सरकार के उच्चतम स्तर पर भ्रष्टाचार और/या सार्वजनिक पद के धारकों के बीच भ्रष्टाचार है जो किसी लोगों या किसी विशेष सामाजिक समूह के मौलिक अधिकारों को खोखला करता है। उदाहरण के लिए देखें ट्रांसपेरेंसी इंटरनेशनल की भव्य भ्रष्टाचार की कानूनी परिभाषा।
  2. “सर्वाइवल ऑफ द फिटेस्ट” योग्यता की उत्तरजीविता की अवधारणा एक विशेष प्राकृतिक वातावरण में प्रजनन की जैविक अवधारणा को संदर्भित करती है। “योग्यता”का तात्पर्य आनुवंशिक रूपांतरों के एक विशिष्ट वर्ग के बीच प्रजनन उत्पादन की दर से है। इसलिए, डार्विन इस बात का जिक्र कर रहे थे कि कैसे कुछ जीवित जीवों को दूसरों की तुलना में तत्काल, स्थानीय वातावरण के लिए बेहतर तरीके से बने है और वे कैसे अनुकूल होते हैं। इसका प्रतिस्पर्धा या मुकाबला से कोई लेना-देना नहीं है। जैसा कि आज प्रयोग किया जाता है, योग्यतम की उत्तरजीविता दूसरों के साथ अनुचित या अमानवीय व्यवहार के लिए केवल एक बहाना है, यह उचित ठहराते हुए कि वे क्यों पीछे रह गए हैं। जाहिर है, जीवविज्ञानी 1869 से आगे बढ़े हैं और वैज्ञानिक सोच मौलिक रूप से बदल गई है। कॉर्पोरेट सोच नहीं बदली है।
  3. कई उद्योगों में नियोक्ताओं के लिए श्रमिकों के लिए विभिन्न प्रकार के “दर्द निवारक” प्रदान करना या उन्हें लेने के लिए प्रोत्साहित करना एक आम बात है। यह भी औपनिवेशिक काल से है जब कार्य व्यवस्था के हिस्से के रूप में अफीम का व्यापक रूप से उपयोग किया जाता था। यह अक्सर एक तरह के भुगतान का गठन करता था और अफीम की लत के कारण कर्ज और बंधन होता था। कुक्कुट प्रसंस्करण और सीफ़ूड प्रसंस्करण उद्योगों में आज दर्द निवारक का उपयोग व्यापक है, उदाहरण के लिए, जहां इन-हाउस (कंपनी के) डॉक्टरों या नर्सों को केवल दर्द निवारक दवाएं लिखने या प्रदान करने की अनुमति है और उन्हें कर्मचारियों को काम करते रहने की सलाह देनी चाहिए (ऐसा बोला जाता हैं)। बेशक दर्द निवारक केवल उन संकेतों को मारते हैं जो शरीर हमें रुकने और आराम करने के लिए भेज रहा है। बेशक काम करते रहने की मजबूरी पीस-रेट और कोटा सिस्टम से ही आती है।
  4. हाइपरथर्मिया खतरनाक रूप से उच्च शरीर के तापमान को संदर्भित करता है जो हमारे स्वास्थ्य के लिए खतरा है।


Fairmont Bali Fight Continues: “We won’t be tired, We won’t give up, We won’t be silenced, If justice sinks, we will fight!”

Fairmont Bali Fight Continues: “We won’t be tired, We won’t give up, We won’t be silenced, If justice sinks, we will fight!”

As Bali slowly reopens to international tourism, unscrupulous employers are still refusing reinstatement. Workers from Accor’s Fairmont Sanur hotel resort were falsely declared redundant last July, when they were terminated for organizing a union. Management then tried to force them to surrender their union rights – and lie – to get their jobs back. Union members refused and are still fighting for justice.

On October 15 they continued their protest actions, with a banner declaring: “Revoke the terminations and reinstate the unilaterally terminated workers at Fairmont Sanur Beach”.


“build back tourism in Indonesia!” On World Tourism Day hotel workers call for building back better, securing jobs & stopping unfair dismissals

“build back tourism in Indonesia!” On World Tourism Day hotel workers call for building back better, securing jobs & stopping unfair dismissals

On World Tourism Day, September 27, members of the IUF-affiliated FSPM held public rallies and marches in five cities across the country to call on local governments to support “building back” Indonesian tourism and to “build back better”.

They also protested against unfair dismissals and rights violations at hotel properties. This includes the mass dismissal of union leaders and members at Marriot’s W Bali Seminyak and Courtyard by Marriot in Bandung as well as Accor’s Fairmont Sanur in Bali.

For FSPM members building back better means recognizing the value of the work of hotel, restaurant and tourism workers, protecting job security and health, and respecting trade union rights. This is the only way to ensure the safe and sustainable recovery of tourism in Indonesia.

Indonesia is the first country sign the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics. On June 15, 2021, FSPM wrote to the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy welcoming the Government’s ratification of the Framework Convention. FSPM observed that the preamble to the Framework Convention makes a strong commitment to “full and productive employment and decent work for all” and specifically refers to the fundamental ILO Conventions including the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. FSPM declared that:

In this crisis there are employers who negotiated with FSPM member unions and worked together to protect jobs and wages. These employers acted “ethically” by working together with our unions to limit the negative impact of this crisis on workers and their families. These ethical employers respected our rights and understood that our hard-working members deserved to be treated fairly. They also recognized that the skills and experience of our members are vital for the future recovery of the tourism industry in Indonesia.

Having recognized that some employers responded ethically, FSPM then drew attention to employers who did not:

However, we regret that there are some employers and hotel operators that were ‘unethical’ in facing the pandemic, choosing to impose mass redundancies and refuse to pay unpaid wages. These employers did not respect freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining. Instead, they shifted the burden of this pandemic to workers and their families, causing great hardship. These unethical employers did not take care to consider the skills and experience of our members and to be ready for the recovery of tourism. Instead, these employers took a short-term view to save money and cut costs at the expense of jobs and livelihoods. This behavior does not support ethical tourism in Indonesia.

The World Tourism Day rallies in Jakarta, Bali, Bandung, Yogyakarta and Surabaya on September 27 drew attention to the importance of ethical tourism in building back better. At the same time this threw a spotlight on major international companies like Marriott and Accor who have chosen to be unethical in this crisis and recovery.

Protests continue against unfair mass dismissals at Marriott’s W Bali – Seminyak

Protests continue against unfair mass dismissals at Marriott’s W Bali – Seminyak

A year after the unfair mass dismissal of union members in September 2020, members of the IUF-affiliated FSPM continue to fight for reinstatement at Marriott’s luxury hotel W Bali – Seminyak.

Management at Marriott’s W Bali – Seminyak misused “forced majeure” in the COVID-19 pandemic to terminate 147 workers despite the sacrifices workers had already made with massive wage cuts and lost benefits.

In fact the mass layoffs were not a response to the pandemic, but retribution for the success of the union in negotiating better conditions and converting over 100 precarious contract workers to permanent jobs before the pandemic.

Marriott has ignored calls by the local authorities to reinstate the unfairly terminated workers. One year later, on World Tourism Day September 27, 2021, FSPM members called for “building back better” tourism in Bali and rallied in front of Marriott’s W Bali – Seminyak demanding reinstatement.