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Labour Law and Development in Indonesia

Indonesia’s labour law regime has changed profoundly since 1998, reflecting the sweeping social and political developments that followed Soeharto’s fall from power.

Surya Tjandra
04 February 2016
The Leiden Repository

In his book “Labour Law and Development in Indonesia”, Indonesian academic and activist Surya Tjandra relates the history of labour law in Indonesia, followed by three case studies relating to the central pieces of labour legislation enacted since 1998: the first about trade union legislation, the second about minimum wage, and the third about the Industrial Relations Court. These cases show how labour law in Indonesia is best understood as the result of the struggles between different social groups and competing ideologies, which change over time. The study emphasizes the importance of trade unions in any modern industrial capitalist society, as a central institution capable of promoting some measure of equity and social justice.

Surya Tjandra is a lecturer at Atma Jaya Catholic University (Jakarta) and founder of the Trade Union Rights Centre, a labour resource NGO, based in Jakarta. He was recently a candidate to Indonesia’s anti-corruption agency, but he was voted down by the Indonesian parliament. From 2010-2012 he was one of the main leaders to facilitate the successful campaign for Indonesia’s new social security legislation, uniting civil society organizations, trade unions and progressive politicians. Part of this study is therefore the result of truly participant observation, conducted during the dynamic transitions of Indonesia’s still fragile democracy. The study will be defended as a dissertation on 4 February 2016, in Leiden. It is published as a volume in the series of the Meijers Research Institute and Graduate School of Leiden University. The study was conducted at the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance, and Development and the Department of Labour Law and Social Security at the Law Faculty of Leiden University, under the supervision of Professor Dr Guus Heerma van Voss and Professor Dr Adriaan Bedner.

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