Sony To Lay Off 928 in Indonesia

Friday, July 7th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Electronics giant Sony plans to lay off 928 staff who stopped work more than two months ago in a dispute over new working conditions, a company official said Friday.

Sony Indonesia's finance department manager Satoshi Kanenori said 928 of its 1,500 employees at its television and stereo production plant in Jakarta would be sacked since the dispute had proven impossible to resolve.

Kanenori said the strikers walked out April 26, demanding that they be able to sit while they work. However, the company's newly introduced production line requires its staff to stand.

He said the company had received approval from the Indonesian government to terminate the workers' contracts, a requirement under new labor laws.

The workers have the right to appeal to an administrative court.

Kanenori said he expects the decision to cost Sony, which owns the plant, more than $500,000 in termination pay and other costs.

The dispute comes amid a surge of worker unrest in Indonesia that has been on the increase since the country plunged into its worst economic crisis in a generation in 1997.

Labor strikes have also been fueled by growing anarchy and newfound freedom of expression since former authoritarian President Suharto was ousted in May 1998.

The unrest is hampering desperately needed foreign investment in Indonesia as well as hurting the operations of companies already present in the country.