PSI affiliates condemn Indonesian electricity privatisation

In a letter to the president of Indonesia, South East Asian affiliates of Public Services International (PSI) condemned plans to privatize Indonesia's state electricity company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN). The government decided on privatisation in January 2008, prompting a huge protest from workers.During a meeting earlier this month of the PSI regional Executive Board in Bali, Indonesia, this body's members adopted a resolution stating that PSI rejects any attempt to stimulate or encourage efforts by the Indonesia government to privatise PLN. PSI and its regional affiliates also express their support for its affiliated union Serikat Pekerja PT.PLN-Persero (SP.PLN) in its efforts to resist privatisation of PLN.

Rally against energy privatisation in Indonesia

Around five thousand workers joined the anti-privatisation or anti-unbundling mass rally in Jakarta, Indonesia on 30 January. They came from all over the country to protest against the decision of PLN Stakeholders on January 8, 2008 to sell its generator plant. The company also plans to divide PLN into five regions, each region having its own power authority. This will directly affect the price of power, because the subsidy presently made from Java to poorer parts of the country will be abolished. Eight percent of PLN's profit are generated from Java and is used to subsidy provinces such Papua, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and others.

The decision of PLN's Stakeholders is also illegal, being in violation of the Constitution. However, the PLN management and government still pushed the unbundling policy to be implemented in the stakeholders' meeting on 8 January.

Prior to the mass rally, management held a press conference, during which they said the plan to unbundle PLN had been cancelled. However, they did not present any legal basis for the cancellation. By law, the cancellation must be decided during a further stakeholders meeting or by Presidential Decree and a simple statement by the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises or management is insufficient. The 5,000 workers of SP. PLN, PP.Indonesia Power and SP.PLN-PJB decided to go ahead with the rally. Public Services International and its affiliates FARKES and the Trade Union of Angkasa Pura 1 also joined the rally.

The rally started from the National Monument and ended at the State Palace, where unions and workers pressed for a meeting with the President to express directly the unions' concern about the planned privatisation. Union representatives were able to meet with Presidency staff and a spokesman from the State Palace for one hour, during which they explained the reason of the demonstration. The Presidency staff have promised to deliver the Union's concern to the President and take swift action to solve this problem. When the rally ended, the unionists agreed to hold a further mass demonstration if the President did not cancel the stakeholders' decision to unbundle the PLN.


PSI Letter_to_President_of_Indonesia_and_Resolution_on_PLN_apr08.pdf404.25 KB