Hotel workers continue to protest in front of Courtyard by Marriott in Bandung, demanding reinstatement of unfairly terminated union members and leaders. 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.
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”.
With the Indonesian government’s success in the vaccination roll out and stringent measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, domestic and international tourism is starting to recover. Hotel and tourism workers are going back to work, once again on the frontline in exposure to COVID-19 and with a critical role in keeping hotel guests and travellers safe. The use of hotels for mandatory quarantine has already shown that hotel workers have the valuable skills needed to protect guests and the public. And it also shows the vital role of unions like FSPM in keeping hotel workers safe on the frontline.
Despite this, major international hotel chains like Marriott and Accor still refuse to recognize the value of hotel workers and to respect their rights. Hundreds of hotel workers arbitrarily dismissed by Accor and Marriott in Indonesia deserve to return to work. Yet Accor’s Fairmont Sanur in Bali and Marriott’s Courtyard in Bandung refuse to reinstate unfairly terminated workers. Protests continue in Bali and Bandung demanding reinstatement and an end to unfair dismissals and forced redundancies.
FSPM Bali members continue protest action demanding reinstatement at Fairmont Sanur Beach
Protests against unfair dismissals at Courtyard by Marriott in Bandung continue
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.
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.
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.