Obligations of Employees who Wish to Conduct a Legal Strike

Both employees and labor unions have certain obligations towards the employer before they are able to stage a legal strike. Article 140 of the Labor Law requires the employees and/or labor unions to provide a written notification to the employer of their intention to strike, not less than 7 days prior to the intended strike. Moreover the same article requires the employees and labor unions to submit such notice also to the local manpower agency. The notice shall at least contain the following information:

1. the date and time at which the strike will start and end;
2. the place where the strike will be performed. Such place may not prevent other non-striking employees performing their job;
3. the reason for the strike; and
4. signature of the responsible persons of the strike.

The intended strike may in any way not disrupt the public interest and/or endanger the public safety.

Obligations and Restrictions of Employers and Government

Both the employer and the local manpower agency are required to issue a receipt of acknowledgement of the notification letter from the employees/labor unions. Moreover the local manpower agency is required to try to solve the dispute between the employer and the employees which lead to the legal strike through mediation, both before and during the strike. The goal of such mediation is that the employee and employer reach settlement of their dispute and consequently sign an agreement, which is witnessed by the local manpower agency. In case the dispute cannot be resolved the employees/labor onion may decide to continue the strike.

Moreover, the employer is not allowed to perform any of the following actions to the employees who are performing a legal strike:

1. punish the employees for their participation (e.g. in the form of sanctions or retaliatory actions);
2. intimidate the employees;
3. transfer the employee to a position in the company which is considered disadvantageous for such employee; or
4. replacing the employees with external workers during the strike.

In case the employer refuses to provide the basic rights to employees and the employees perform a strike to claim such rights, the employer is required to pay the salary to such employees.

This column is provided by PNB Law Firm Jakarta