Employer Anti-Unionism in Democratic Indonesia

  • Michele Ford


In post-authoritarian Indonesia, the exclusionary corporatism of Suharto’s New Order (1967–1998) has given way to a complex and ideologically diverse labour movement, free to engage in workplace organising and to attempt to exert influence on the national industrial relations landscape. This remarkable transformation was brought about by dramatic legislative shifts in the early post-Suharto period that heralded the arrival of far more inclusionary policies towards organised labour. Backed by the international labour movement and much optimism, dozens of union federations and several national centres emerged within a matter of years, all seeking to stake their claim on behalf of workers. Their capacity to do so was bolstered by dramatic changes to the industrial relations system, which shifted the emphasis from stateled tripartism to a combination of regional tripartite mechanisms and firm-level bipartism, in the process dramatically increasing the space available for collective bargaining, but also for legislative and public relations campaigns. Initially, employers were taken by surprise by the resurgence of organised labour in both the workplace and the policy arena. During the Suharto years, the developmentalist state had formed a strong alliance with capital in its efforts to achieve rapid economic growth, guaranteeing political and industrial stability in return for unquestioning loyalty and financial support.


Minimum Wage Trade Union Collective Bargaining Comparative International Development Industrial Relation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Michele Ford 2013

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  • Michele Ford

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