Indonesians working for China's Huawei on strike

JAKARTA - Indonesians working for Chinese telecom firm Huawei joined a strike Friday over claims their employer broke labour laws, in the latest industrial action to hit a foreign company in Indonesia.

Some 150 workers in the capital Jakarta and the eastern Java city of Surabaya took part over claims Huawei has illegally hired foreign workers and has sought to disrupt the work of labour unions. Huawei denies the claims.

Indonesians working for US mining giants Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold and Newmont Nusa Tenggara, and French retailer Carrefour, have gone on strike in recent years seeking better pay and conditions as the economy booms.

"The strike is an escalation of several labour issues at Huawei," Huawei Tech Investment Indonesia Union chairman Heru Waskito Krisnamurti told AFP.

He said 150 workers joined the industrial action Friday, the final day of a five-day strike.

He said the union, which represents 900 of more than 4,000 people working for Huawei subsidiaries in Indonesia, planned to report the company to Indonesian authorities later on Friday for breaking labour laws.

Krisnamurti said the firm had hired foreigners without the proper work permits, as well as employing local workers on six-month or one-year contracts to carry out the company's core activities, which is illegal in Indonesia.

"Huawei is fully aware of the industrial action currently taking place," company spokeswoman Yunny Christine told AFP in a statement, adding the strike had not affected operations.

The firm has denied disrupting the work of unions or illegally hiring foreign workers, saying all their foreign employees had the required paperwork.

Of its 4,000 employees in Indonesia, more than 2,500 work at Huawei Tech Investment which develops telecom infrastructure in the archipelago, of whom 20 per cent are foreigners, the firm said.

Indonesia's cheap labour has long attracted foreign firms to invest in Southeast Asia's top economy, but workers have won pay hikes and better working conditions by taking industrial action in recent years.

Become a fan on Facebook