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Labour law, judicialisation, and the future of socio-legal studies in Indonesia

Labour is back as a significant social and political force in Indonesia, as was shown in the recent 1 May trade union demonstrations in Jakarta. Over the past years major changes have taken place in Indonesian labour law, leading to new forms of judicial and political resolution of labour disputes.

Dr. Surya Tjandra
18 May 2017

In this Van Vollenhoven Lecture Surya Tjandra analysed the current situation of labour dispute resolution and how this affects the position of workers in Indonesia. He demonstrated how for a fruitful analysis of such issues a mono-disciplinary approach is too limited, what we can learn from this for the future of socio-legal studies in Indonesia, and what this means for Indonesian-Dutch research agendas in the field of law.

Surya Tjandra is a well-known Indonesian labour academic-activist. He is a lecturer at the Law Faculty of Atma Jaya Catholic University and Jentera Law School, in Jakarta, Indonesia. For many years he was associated with the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (LBH) in Jakarta, Indonesia and he is the founder of the Trade Union Rights Centre. Surya holds a bachelor degree in law from the University of Indonesia, a master degree in Law in Development from Warwick University and a PhD from Leiden University. His PhD-thesis concerned the political economy of labour law reform in Indonesia after the Reformasi. He was one of the key figures in the struggle for social security reforms in Indonesia, which led to the enactment of the Law on the Social Security Executing Agency in 2011. This Law guarantees health care to all Indonesian citizens, as well as pensions to formal workers. Surya has published widely on Indonesian labour law and trade unions issues nationally and internationally, and he has been working closely with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the DGB Bildungswerk, and the FNV Mondiaal.

Van Vollenhoven Lectures

The Van Vollenhoven lectures are organized in honour of Cornelis van Vollenhoven, the Leiden law professor who acquired fame between 1901 and 1933 for his elaborate and detailed description and analysis of the laws of the Netherlands-Indies as well as for his impressive contributions to public international law.

Previous lectures were delivered by: Graham E. Fuller (former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, former senior political scientist at RAND, and adjunct professor of history at Simon Fraser University) in 2016, Dr Tom van den Berghe (senior researcher at the Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (KITLV); Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies) in 2015, Dr Fernanda Pirie (director of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford) in 2014, Irene Khan (Director-General of the International Development Law Organization) in 2013, Prof. Andrew Harding (Director of the Centre for Asian Legal Studies, National University of Singapore) in 2012, Dr Ben Knapen (then Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation) in 2011, Prof. Veronica Taylor (then Director Asian Law Centre, University of Washington, Seattle) in 2010, Profs. Franz and Keebet von Benda-Beckmann (then directors of the Legal Pluralism Group of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle) in 2008 and Bert Koenders (then Minister for Development Cooperation) in 2007.

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