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“STOP Nespressure and negotiate now!”, Malaysian Food Workers tell Nestlé Indonesia

Posted to the IUF website 23-Jun-2009

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A solidarity visit to Indonesia by ten trade unionists from the IUF-affiliated Food Industry Employees Union (FIEU) in Malaysia once again exposed Nestlé Indonesia management’s refusal to respect trade union rights at its Nescafé factory in Panjang as ‘discriminatory, irrational and unfair’.

For two years the Nestlé Indonesia Workers Union - Panjang (SBNIP) has campaigned for the right to negotiate wages and to have the wage scale included in the Collective Agreement. But Nestlé Indonesia management, with complete disregard for trade union rights guaranteed in the ILO convention on collective bargaining, the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy and the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises, responded with intense pressure on union members and their families in an attempt to force them to surrender their rights.

This refusal of Nestlé Indonesia management to respect the right to negotiate wages shocked the FIEU which negotiates with Nestlé Malaysia on behalf of its 2,200 members in six Nestlé factories and one warehouse. In addition to wage bargaining, the Nestlé Malaysia Collective Agreement includes a detailed wages table – which is precisely what the union in Indonesia has been demanding for two years. Nestlé Indonesia management claims the wages table is a “company secret”, despite the fact it is clearly not a secret in Nestle operations in other countries, including in Malaysia.

At a press conference in Panjang on 22 June, the FIEU Assistant Secretary, who also works at Nestlé Malaysia, declared: “We are very shocked to find out that the management of Nestlé Indonesia denies its workers the right to negotiate wages, the right to know what the wage scale is, and to include them in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Workers at Nestlé Indonesia should have the same right as Nestlé Malaysia workers to negotiate wages.”

FIEU President, Muhammad Zelan bin Harun, pointed out that there is international bench-marking and international ‘best practice’ at the Nestlé Panjang factory, which exports 75% of its Nescafe to overseas markets, including Japan. Yet when it comes to trade union rights such as the right to wage bargaining Nestlé Indonesia management refuses to apply international best practice. Nestlé Indonesia management could easily resolve this conflict by introducing the ‘best practice’ that already exists in the very obvious example of the Collective Agreement that FIEU negotiated with Nestlé Malaysia.

FIEU President Muhammad Zelan bin Harun holds up the Nestlé Malaysia CBA, showing the pages containing the wage tables

The visit culminated in a protest action in front of the Nestle Panjang factory.

STOP Nespressure and negotiate now! - CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO NESTLE!

Tell corporate management to stop pressuring the union and its members and start negotiating!.

The situation at Nestlé Panjang is not unique. For growing numbers of Nestlé workers around the world, it's "Good Food - Good Life - Goodbye to Union Rights in the Workplace"
To learn more about Nestlé, Nespressure and the fight back, visit www.nespressure.org.