Foto: Iwan Budi Santoso
Foto: Iwan Budi Santoso

Occasion: Indonesia Premiere Working Class Heroes documentary
Date and place: 1st of July, Gedung Puri Ardhyia Gardini, Halim PK, Jakarta, membership meeting metal federation FSPMI
Spoken by: Ruth Vermeulen, FNV

Selamat siang Jakarta!
Selamat siang Brothers and Sisters!
Selamat siang WORKING CLASS HEROES dari Indonesia!

Following the news lately, it looks like the world is in turmoil.
Peaceful protests fill the streets of Taksim square in Turkey,
Sao Paolo in Brazil and the Plaza Indonesia in Jakarta.

Whether the protestors call for the freedom of speech in Turkey,
free public transport in the World Cup Protests in Brazil,
or an affordable price of petrol oil in Jakarta.

What all protestors share,
is the call for a better life, with humanity and social justice!

A decent life, with a job,
which provides a decent living and a future for our children.

A decent life is what we all hope, strive and fight for.
A decent life is what we all deserve.

Nama saya Ruth dari Federasi Serikat Pekerja dari Belanda, FNV
And I am very proud to present to you today,
the documentary Working Class Heroes,
which will be shown for the first time in Indonesia!

The documentary shows the importance of freedom of speech
and the right to organize.
Because in the end,
joint organization is the only way to realize progress for all.

First, on behalf of the Dutch filmmakers, Huub and Arno,
I would like to thank everybody,
who has worked with Huub and Arno in Indonesia,
to make this great documentary.

Thank you Said Iqbal and your wife
Thank you Emon Murdiana, for your courage to share your life with us.
Also, I would like to thank the FSPMI media team, Wati Anwar,
the secretariat of FSPMI, KSPI and all unions and workers,
united in the national labour council MPBI.

Without you the making of this documentary would not have been possible.

Thanks also to the Minister of Labour, the president of APINDO,
the CEO of Panasonic and the director of ILO Jakarta, Peter van Rooij.

And thank you, management of Toshiba,
for allowing us to film Emon at her workplace.
Thanks to all others. Terima Kasih!

Working Class Heroes is about Indonesia and Colombia.
Two middle income countries with high economic growth,
where workers profit little from this growth and inequality is growing.
Today, 960 million poor people live in middle income countries.
This is almost three-quarters – of the world’s poor.

This documentary shows,
the democratic role of trade unions and social dialogue,
in getting social justice and welfare for all,
in upcoming economic growth countries like Colombia and Indonesia.
Where union rights are not automatically secured.
In Colombia, last year 32 unionists got killed.
It is easier setting up a paramilitary group than a union.

In the documentary we will follow two union leaders,
Said Iqbal in Indonesia and Igor Karel Diaz from Colombia.
We witness their drive, commitment and personal sacrifices,
to lead the struggle for the improvement of the life of the workers.

The need for change is shown by the situation of two workers,
Emon in Indonesia, who cannot see her children grow up,
because she does not earn enough to keep them with her.

And Luís Gómez in Colombia,
who worked in the mines of Cerrejón for 28 years,
has black lungs and hernia,
for which he is not compensated by his company.

The last two years a lot of gains are made in Indonesia,
because of the unions:
A new law promises social security with healthcare for all.
A historic national strike organized by all unions joined in MPBI,
led to rises of minimum wages and official restriction of outsourcing.

But the struggle is not yet finished.
Not all companies pay the new minimum wages,
or hire the outsourced workers doing a permanent job.
The implementation of social security is still unsure.

A few nights ago I talked to a desperate friend on the phone.
Her daughter in law was rejected by a hospital,
Only because she had an insurance card of the poor,
No matter she was bleeding, carrying a child
and needed delivery by operation.

This documentary is made to support the struggle of my friends’ family,
to support Emon, to support all of you,
working hard, contributing to society and economic growth,
Yet not earning enough to make a decent living.

To make change happen, you joined the union.
For this you can be called a hero too.
My hope is that this documentary gives you:
strength, hope and determination to continue, for a better life of all.

But please be reminded it is not only about going into the streets,
to have peaceful and non violent protests.
It is also about social dialogue,
and building an effective and constructive relationship with employers.

Because like the Minister of Labour, Muhaimin Iskandar,
says in the documentary:
“The future of Indonesia must be built on social dialogue.
Trade unions are good for the industrial development of Indonesia”.

At the FNV congress,
FNV has rewarded Said Iqbal the FNV Trade Union Right Award.

Said Iqbal has been given the award,
because he gave the working poor
hope for change of a better, just and fair world.
He led the successful struggle
for social security and healthcare for all,
for rights of those without permanent contracts,
for a living wage, which covers the minimum basic necessities in life.

Said Iqbal gave a voice and podium to all these workers,
calling for a better life, humanity and social justice.
Said Iqbal has received this award,
to signal that these successes and progress yet need to be secured,
and need to continue.
Said Iqbal has received this award not only for him personally.

The award is for all FSPMI members,
The award is for all the upcoming heroes and all workers in Indonesia,
The award is for all working hard for a living,
and making society work to secure our future generation

There are more heroes outside, doing a great job,
Like the FSPMI leaders put in jail in Surabaya, Bogor, Bekasi and Bandung,
Like Emon,
Like each and everyone of you

The statue of the award is symbol for the joint struggle,
the strength of unity,
It shows not only one person, but a united group,
protecting each other and giving each other strength.

Each and everyone of you can become a hero
by making a personal decision to join the union for a better future.

The goal is not to become a hero,
It is about taking a personal decision
to join collectively for the common goal
of a fair and just society where all profit.

This cannot be done alone!
You need brothers and sisters.
You need brothers and sisters,
not only in your own workplace union, not only in FSPMI.
You need brothers and sisters from other unions, beyond FSPMI.

The national strike of 3rd of October would not have been possible,
without the other workers and unions,
joined in the national labour council MPBI.

Unity in the Indonesia union movement is very much needed.
You need each other, because together you are strong.
In unity is strength.

In the words of Nelson Mandela:
“Once a person is determined to help themselves,
there is nothing that can stop them”.

But he also said:
“No single person can liberate a country.
You can only liberate a country if you act as a collective.”

Hidup buruh!
Hidup organisasi kolektif
Hidup Working Class Heroes dari Indonesia!

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