Indonesian trade unionist assaulted

A peaceful workers’ protest organised by KPBI South Sumatera and Federasi SERBUK in Muara Enim, Indonesia turned violent when one of its trade union leaders was physically assaulted by company management personnel. 

Khamid Istakhori, General Secretary of Federasi SERBUK, was physically assaulted during a peaceful protest against the Omnibus Bill for Job Creation at the Simpang Tiga PT Tanjung Enim Lestari (PT TEL) on 26 August. 

Istakhori’s attacker was part of the the PT TEL management team led by Hendri Gunawan, who arrived at the protest site to inquire about the intent of the protest action. The unionists said that the management’s presence flared up emotions and created unnecessary tensions. 

SERBUK reported that Istakhori tried to intervene, negotiate with Gunawan and diffuse the tension. However, he was attacked by a certain Peri Prayogi. As a result, he suffered bruises and wounds on his face, and was hospitalized. Istakhori is currently experiencing dizziness, nausea and headaches.

In a statement, BWI Asia-Pacific Regional Representative Apolinar Tolentino condemned the violent attack against Istakhori. 

“We condemn this unprovoked act of violence. The workers’ right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly, as well as the freedom from violence and harassment in workplaces, are guaranteed by both Indonesian law and international obligations. What the PT TEL did to Istakhori is despicable. We demand the company to immediately bring Istakhori’s assailant to justice, provide appropriate compensation and issue a public apology to the involved trade unions,” Tolentino said. 

KPBI South Sumatera is now coordinating with the local police force.