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Starwood Yields - Yogyakarta Sheraton Workers Win Post-Earthquake Support

Posted to the IUF website 19-Sep-2006

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International support for workers at Indonesia's Yogyakarta Sheraton Mustika - organized in the SPM Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta, a member of the IUF-affiliated HRCT federation FSPM - has helped win a settlement of the dispute involving the hotel management's refusal to contribute to post-earthquake housing reconstruction for employees. The hotel building was badly hit by the May 27 earthquake and had to be closed for reconstruction. Four family members of employees of the Sheraton Mustika were killed in the earthquake, 10 employees� houses were completely destroyed and 58 were partially damaged. The hotel property is Indonesian owned but managed under contract by the international Starwood chain (click here for background).

In the aftermath of the deadly earthquake, FSPM unions in the Yogyakarta area had bargained agreements with hotels which were wholly or partially closed that workers be paid basic wages and benefits during reconstruction, that reinstatement be guaranteed upon reopening and that the hotels pay for rebuilding employees' destroyed and damaged homes. The negotiated arrangement has been for local owners to pay wages and benefits while financial support for rebuilding workers' homes has been assumed by the transnational chains who manage the properties.

On August 31, the union secured an agreement with the local owners on wages, benefits and reinstatement. But Starwood - alone among the major management chains with which the FSPM negotiates - failed to respond to the union�s calls for financial support for the rebuilding of workers� damaged or destroyed homes.

Backed by an international support campaign, the union on September 15 reached an agreement with the hotel general manager, acting on behalf of Starwood. The agreement stipulates that all employees - including daily workers and outsourced workers - will receive 2 million Indonesia Rupiahs (IDR), some USD220. Workers whose houses were completely destroyed are to receive triple that amount, IDR6 million, and those whose houses were partially damaged will receive IDR3million.

The union and the federation have thanked all who supported their struggle by sending support messages to Starwood's international and regional management.