|Telco workers go on strike|
JAKARTA: About 2,500 workers at Indonesia's largest mobile-phone carrier, Telkomsel, went on strike on Thursday demanding better pay and pensions, the latest dispute over labour in South-East Asia's largest economy.
The work stoppage at PT Telekomunikasi Selular follows a surge in the mobile-phone customer base in Indonesia, the world's fourth-most populous country with 240 million people, and a growing clamour by unions for a greater slice of the country's wealth in the wake of rapid economic growth.
On Wednesday, workers at Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc's Grasberg mine in remote Papua province extended their strike into a third month, part of a broader push by workers for a greater share of profits in Indonesia. Pilots and supermarket staff have also recently gone on strike.
About 1,000 Telkomsel workers, in their bright red uniforms and red headbands, marched on a busy Jakarta street, waving placards and demanding better health pensions, compensation and their own cellular phones.
Telkomsel workers in several other cities also went on strike. "If our demands are granted, we will not continue the strike tomorrow," said union spokesman Yogi Rizkian Bahar.
He vowed there would be no disruption to telecommunication services or damaged equipment in the strike, which is scheduled to continue until Dec. 30.
The striking workers, out of the company's total workforce of 4,000, refuse to work or to touch production tools. Those who showed up at work simply sat around the office, Bahar said.
Telkomsel is partly owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd and is also a unit of Indonesia's biggest telecoms firm, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia. PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia's share price fell 1.3 percent on Thursday.
Bahar said the union was summoned by government officials to try find a solution to the strike. - theStarOnline