Indonesia: Online media disregards Indonesian Labour law in layoffs

Kumparan, an online media based in Jakarta sacked almost 100 media workers on the basis of decreases revenue from the Covid-19 outbreak. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia urge Kumparan to comply with the labour laws.

Kumparan logo. Credit: Kumparan

Kumparan’s chief executive officer emailed workers on June 21 indicating operational cuts and staff layoffs due to a reduction in revenue as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Soon after employees began receiving emails informing them they were laid off.

Nurul Nur Azizah, a member of AJI Jakarta was offered a letter to terminate her work on June 23, citing the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. While Nurul refused the offer, the company stopped giving Nurul assignments and asked Nurul to return her office equipment, including mobile phone and notebook.

Management of Kumparan did not attend the meeting on June 29 scheduled by Nurul and her lawyer from the Legal Aid for Press Institute (LBH Pers) in the LBH Pers’ office. A follow-up meeting on July 7 did not result in an agreement and Nurul insisted on not accepting the termination offer.

The Indonesian Manpower Law stipulated that laying off employees for efficiency reason must only occur if the company will shut down its operation completely. The aim of management to reduce the number of workers is contradicted by the company opening up recruitment for new employees in early July.  

AJI said: “AJI calls Kumparan to allow Nurul to get back to work and urges the company to obey Indonesian labour laws. In addition to that, AJI also expects the Jakarta Manpower agency to oversee the layoff procedures and industrial disputes not only for Kumparan but also different media in Indonesia."

The IFJ said: “Kumparan’s disregard for Indonesia’s Labour laws and worker’s rights is alarming. The IFJ urges Kumparan’s to comply with the law and allow Nurul and other employees to return to work.”

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