3. Kmanek Supermarket strike: the SJT-TL’s first strike
Almerio: ‘After the SJT-TL was established in October 2008, we have the socialization of the union amongst the workers.
We have the education campaign regarding the SJT-TL, explaining the union, our objectives, our values and our rules.
After that, we find so many problems, so many violations to workers’ rights.
Workers from the Kmanek Supermarket were one group. We talked to these workers about their problems. First we came to them, then they to us with issues of why the Labour Code was not applied and about them wanting to have working contracts. Twenty workers first joined.
They had many complaints. During 8 years workers had no contract at all, just what the boss said to do their job and no papers to regulate their conditions. Later all joined the union. We had long discussions with the members and in the end all agreed to negotiate for the collective agreement for pay and conditions.
We with three union delegates meet with the management and told them that the workers had to have their employment conditions improved to comply with the law. The employer has to give a working contract to the workers and requires an employer to negotiate in good faith if workers indicate that they wish to bargain collectively. At that time, we had very good communication with the management. They after discussion said they agreed with the union to discuss improving the conditions and to obey the law.
After that we organized more workers to be union members and when 100% are organized in this Supermarket, we then put their draft collective agreement to management.
But the management did not like our draft collective agreement. They complain it is too much, too complicated for the future but said some points are OK but we are only going to go for individual contracts. We refused individual contracts. We have the right to make the collective agreement workers want.
This is our first campaign for a collective bargaining agreement and we do not want to lose. We said we will have workers strike for their rights, but the management was very tough and not afraid of our ultimatum.
On the 3rd October we had very long discussion with members at the union office in one room and I am then the only official so Zito from the KSTL is involved. This is after hours at night 6.30pm to 8.30pm and we decide on a strike and we help them go back to the homes.
Then we give 10 days notice to the company, to the government and police.
Then on 15 Nov 2008 the strike commenced. About 90 workers were on strike and on the picket. I say to them if you are feeling this is too difficult better to stay at home and two or three follow this. Management still wanted individual working contracts.
After 3 days I met Clarence Lee the Supermarket owner who said I have some information to discuss so I agreed. At the meeting he said he will dismiss 3 of his staff who were the union delegates because ‘they do not respect me, they used bad language against me during the strike.’ I said ‘no, I never heard this, I said no I am controlling the situation and I never heard them use such language.
But he dismisses our three delegates because they are very vocal on the union. And then OK, this is no solution. Then after that we again continue with our working strike and on 18th November we agreed to continue the strike because of the injustice to our 3 members dismissed for being unionists.’
‘The police came to destroy our strike. Ten came first in three cars, then 20. We said the police knew of the details of the strike but unfortunately they got their request from the company. The police took down and out all our union banners. The police made threats that if we have no agreement to move then the special police will come to destroy you.
They are supposed to be for the criminal, for breaking the law. These BOP special police are like a military with guns and they threatren us.
They said they could not control the picket even though it is peaceful. They said this demonstration, this protest is too many and too hard to control.
I was distressed with the police. He showed a photo of this policeman formally a commander of the Liquique District police who came down to protect. He had a gun at the supermarket. He threatened me and I was scared in the stomach, this was no good.’
Almerio showed me photos of workers holding the banners (Photos have to be included from Almerio). “We are on the picket line” “Clarence we need our jobs back”, “Clarence please respect our law” Photo of the owner Clarence with the police.
Photos talking with supporters coming to the picket line; a photo of Ramos Horta’s brother who turned up and said he would talk to the management – he also came to Hotel California strike – he said he was a close friend with the owner, he did not say anything to me, I said it is not your problem’. ‘We asked for solidarity on the picket line. We asked the customers of the supermarket to support us and many did and listened to us and stayed on the picket line with us. I wanted to get support from others, and one included the ILO in Dili. I knew one ILO woman at the time working with me in the union and I helped her with ILO training on union issues. She came but did not give support from the ILO. The ILO gives training for us but she stayed in the car with her husband. Why did she not give solidarity for us? Why not?’ Here are photos of the labour officials standing watching the strike and waiting for the supermarket if they are wanted.
Photo of police cars stopped in the middle of the road. They tell us to move on. Photo of police threatening us. The police became violent.
Zito is first arrested. Then another delegate and worker are arrested. Here is a photo of Zito’s arm being pulled up being arrested. Here Zito is in the police car. I am arrested.
We were all in the police car and taken to the police station where they treated us like criminals, ordering us to sit on the floor, to take off our shoes, to empty out our pockets, everything was taken out. So we are in the corner and had to put our hands and turn to the wall.
We explained to the police our rights based on the Labour Code and our right to strike in the Constitution.
After a while they said they understand but they received their orders from their Commander. We waited. We explained again the violation of workers rights, the violation of our human rights. We were able to put out a call for union solidarity not only in Dili but also throughout solidarity union networks around the world with e-mail alerts.
We were in the police station about 3 hours, and we were not put in the gaol but in the room. The police dispersed workers. Some followed us to the police station for support.‘
We put out a press release. ‘Union Leaders Arrested in Timor Leste to intimidate strikers. 24 November 2008.
Almeria continues: ‘We then make complaints to the government. First we protest to the Department of Labour, to the Parliament Commission H in charge of employment and industrial relations.’
Zito said: ‘This police action is to intimidate workers. Workers are scared that we cannot strike as we will be arrested and we will lose not only our wages during the strike but we can be put in the police cell.
The police prohibits workers to organise a strike.’
‘Department officials said at the time they supported us at the meeting we had with them and they called the police Commander about the union complaint, but nothing happened.’
‘We were let out because the Prosecutor General said our actions were legal and we followed the law.
We went back to the company, but nobody was there. We decided to contact the workers to have a meeting and we all met and we decided to go back to work, except for the 3 and we continued their argument with the company.
I talked to others to campaign for the 3 dismissed to be reinstated. We met with the company who paid a lawyer to negotiate.
Finally after further discussions, we reached a settlement with the company.
Our Collective Agreement was not successful as a Collective Agreement. But we think it was successful because our terms were put inside all the individual contracts, so we may call them a collective agreement. Their salaries were adjusted eventually based on the minimum. Before the workers had no annual leave, had too long working hours, had no over-time, no public holidays. The workers are now with permanent contracts; 44 hours a week, over 6 days, 5 days at 8 hours per day, they now have days off, some sat/sun over 7 days a week the supermarket is open. All the conditions now comply with the Labour Code.
Unfortunately for the three dismissed, the company only offered compensation. We discussed this and as it is in the Labour Code and we did not want to prolong the case, we had to accept this.’
I agreed with Almerio that it is dangerous for the rights and interests of Timor Leste’s workers with police repression against your right to strike.
The police breached the right to strike in their Constitution and Labour Code.
The DPP ought to have in law the ability to prosecute the police.
Further police interventions in lawful strikes to break union organising would further this unfortunate threatening feature of the fledgling Timor Leste unions’ development.
The Labour Code is not strong enough to force an employer who unfairly dismisses to reinstate, but allows compensation as an alternative.
4. The California Hotel dispute.
The APHEDA headlines 4 February 2011 ‘Hotel workers in Timor denied contracts.’
‘There is growing alarm that management of a leading hotel in Dili have chosen to dismiss trained and long serving staff instead of following local law and providing written contracts for their workers.
On 2nd January 2011, seven female workers took Xmas Day and New Year Day to be with their families. The Boss then said you are not coming in, no need and the company dismissed them, and locked them out.
The employer at the California Hotel, Dili, had refused workers’ rights for requesting written contracts of employment. Their union, the General Workers’ Union are standing up for these workers’ rights and asking the hotel to follow the law. The GWU is affiliated with the country’s peak union body, KSTL, which APHEDA and many Australian unions have supported for over 10 years.
The Labour Code of Timor-Leste states that: “Both workers and employers have the right to a written Contract of Employment.”
The SJT-TL wrote to the National Department of Labour Relations on January 4 seeking tri-partite conciliation and mediation as per the Labour Code. The California Hotel have refused to attend despite two notifications by the Department.
The union also wrote directly to management to resolve the issue but was informed that the California Hotel does not want to settle the matter leaving workers no choice but to withdraw their labour.
This inaction by the hotel, and the lock-out on January 2nd, is despite the owner of the hotel, Brenda Lei Kuansan, promising in December to resolve the matter early in the New Year.
The SJT-TL notified a strike on 17 January and gave the California Hotel 10 days notice to reconsider their position, but the Hotel still refused to meet and discuss the issue.
Workers went on strike on 27 January 2011 to protest against these dismissals, to seek reinstatement and to demand that the hotel follow the Labour Code of Timor-Leste. Almerio Vila Nova, General Secretary of the General Workers Union said:
“Our members are only asking for a written contract. We are alarmed that management have chosen to dismiss trained and long serving staff instead of following the law.
We will fight to ensure that the hotel reinstates our members who were unfairly dismissed. We ask that patrons of the California Hotel support these workers by boycotting the hotel until the dispute is resolved.”
Action: write to California Hotel email@example.com. As a future tourist, tell management at that you wont be staying there unless they treat their workers with dignity and respect.
Please direct any media enquiries to: Almerio Vila Nova General Secretary General Workers Union +670 724 8482’.
The California Hotel then agreed to negotiate a settlement to respect workers’ rights in a collective contract and to reinstate the workers.
5. I then asked about other disputes.
He said there were many disputes with employers.
‘By 2012 we have had in total 242 disputes; 150 in the Commerce sector; Hotel hospitality 73 disputes; Industry, coffee workers 13, Service providers and NGOs 41 disputes and many individual disputes.
I said I would have him in the international ‘Troublemakers Union!’
I said tell me about another strike and illegal police arrests.
Almerio said here is a press release about our arrests at the Ministry of Justice.
‘Trade Union Officials and 17 Workers Arrested in Timor-Leste’
East Timor Legal News 12 Oct 2011 Source: East Timor National Labour Union
‘On Tuesday 11 October at 8am, the General Secretary and the National Organizer of General Workers’ Union including 17 workers were arrested by police and then held in police cells for two days while preparing for a peaceful protest in the office of Ministry of Justice.
The protest was being staged in support of the demand of 19 workers that been dismissed unfairly by the Justice Ministry. These two union officials, the Secretary General Mr. Almério Vila Nova and the National Organizer Mrs. Henita Casimira of the General Workers’ Union (SJT-TL) and the 17 workers are now still in the cell of Police in Caicoli-Dili.
The workers were engaged in the preparation of protest were dismissed from the Turismo Hotel because of the unfair decision of the Justice Ministry towards their management in closing the business.
The dismissed workers are all members of the General Workers’ Union who had been active in attempts to negotiate with the employer and the government regarding the compensation and the continuation of their employment with the new management.
Timor-Leste’s union believes that the motivation of the arrest is to protect the government member (Justice Minister Mrs. Lucia Lobato) and to intimidate workers to not speak up their right and to not protest the government members. The president of Peak Union Body in Timor-Leste/KSTL, Mr. José da Conceição da Costa said that this is abuse of power of the government member.
“She wants to take advantage (benefits) of the business that is why she decides to kick out the current management and give the contract to other business man so she can be benefited from the business”.
This is unfair decision in the Democratic Country like Timor-Leste and it is caused many workers lose their jobs. The Minister only thinking for herself and ignores the people who she is supposed to serve.
After tripartite negotiations with the employer and the Justice Minister in last year, the Minister agreed to settle this matter in a very short time, but until today there is no realization yet.
Formal protests are being lodged by the union with the Government of Timor-Leste and the parliament over the intervention of the police and the attitude of the Minister in causing dismissal of the workers, and urge the National Police to immediately release the union officials and the workers.
KSTL calls upon the government and the parliament to take serious actions to settle this matter as quickly as possible.
Contact: Jose da Conceicao da Costa (ZITO) President KSTL + 670 723 9824
The KSTL and the SJT-TL criticises the intervention of the police with arrests. The police should not be involved.’
Further report here. This dispute was settled.
6. I asked about the Security Officer’s dispute at the US Embassy, Dili.
‘US Mission in Timor-Leste deny workers human rights’
I saw this headline and gave solidarity on the internet. Here is a press release 7 December 2010.
‘The US Mission is denying workers their right to form and join trade unions – in contradiction of Article 23(4) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The US Mission in Timor-Leste refused to meet with the General Workers Union of Timor-Leste (SJTL) on 22 November 2010, regarding the unfair dismissal of its member Mario Baretto on the basis that: “as part of the terms of his employment, Mr Baretto was/is not allowed to be a member of any organized union and therefor
we will not meet with any representative acting on his behalf.”
The US Mission is denying Mario Baretto his right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests as per Article 23 (4) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The US Mission is also breaching the International Labour Organization Convention 87, Freedom of Association, and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948, which Timor-Leste ratified on 16 June 2009.
US Mission officials had previously refused to meet with the union or to attend mediation by the Labour Board on the incorrect assertion that they enjoy diplomatic immunity.
Almerio Vila Nova, General Secretary of SJTL stated:
‘The US Mission seems intent on using any fabrication to avoid their obligations to consult with Mr Baretto and his trade union.
We are dismayed that the United States of America is denying Timorese workers their human rights and breaking national law and we are disappointed that the US Mission will not even meet with us or attend mediation to discuss the matter.
As such we are left with no option other than to call on the governments of Timor-Leste to intervene and to seek international support.’
Mr Baretto was employed by the US Mission as a security officer from 3 May 2004 and was dismissed on 16 July 2010 in breach of the Labour Code of Timor-Leste.
SJTL will hold a press conference at 10am in front of the Palacio de Governo on 9 December 2010. All are welcome to attend.
Please direct any media enquiries to: Almerio Vila Nova
General Workers Union
+670 724 8482
Rigoberto Monteiro/Jose da Costa General Secretary/President Timor-Leste Trade Union Confederation +670 723 6276/+670 723 9824In Australia: Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA Sydney +61 2 9264 9343
TAKE ACTION FOR TIMOR: Email the US Ambassador 22 December 2010
Send an email & get your networks to do the same – the US Mission in Timor is refusing Timorese workers’ right to join a union. Add your name and contact details at the bottom and email it to Ambassador Fergin at ConsDili@state.gov . Thank you. Read the background to this campaign.
To: Ambassador Judith Fergin, US Mission in Timor-Leste
Re: Unfair dismissal of Mario Baretto and subsequent refusal of the US Mission in Timor-Leste to meet with Mr Baretto’s Union.
I am writing to urge you to meet with the union representatives of Mr Baretto to collaboratively resolve the disputation about Mr Baretto’s unfair dismissal as per the Labour Code of Timor-Leste.
As you are aware, the US Mission in Timor-Leste refused to meet with the General Workers Union of Timor-Leste (SJTL) on 22 November 2010 regarding the unfair dismissal Mr Baretto on the basis that:
“As part of the terms of his employment, Mr Baretto was/is not allowed to be a member of any organized union and therefore we will not meet with any representative acting on his behalf.”
The US Mission is denying Mario Baretto his right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests as per Article 23 (4) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The US Mission is also breaching the International Labour Organization convention 87 Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 which Timor-Leste ratified on 16 June 2009.
US Mission officials had previously refused to meet with SJTL or to attend mediation by the Labour Board on the incorrect assertion that the United States of America enjoys diplomatic immunity as per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 (“Convention”). The employer is the United States of America and not an individual representative of the US Mission and as such is not covered by the Convention.
I am asking that the United States of America honour your obligations under national and international law and that the US Mission in Timor-Leste rectifies your breaches of human and labour rights immediately.
I request a response to this correspondence.
Yours sincerely Name: Name of organisation and position in Organisation
SJTL, the General Workers’ Union of Timor-Leste has also sent a version of this letter to:
Chairman, Commission A – National Parliament of Timor-Leste (by hand); Chairman, Commission H – National Parliament of Timor-Leste (by hand); National Director of Labour Relations – SEFOPE (by hand); and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (by hand).
Here is the Open Letter to Barack Obama, read it here.’ check
The KSTL and SJT-TL held a joint press conference in front of the government palace with media reports. The workers stood around supporting the dismissed worker. Representations are made to the government.
Soon after that one of the US Embassy’s advisors came to the KSTL office saying that the main objective was to discuss the issue on child labour and we had a good discussion. Then the US representative asked about the dispute, so we discussed this and offers were made and we reached a satisfactory settlement.’
‘US Embassy in Dili admits mistake about worker’s rights. Wednesday, February 9, 2011 from ETAN.
The General Workers Union of Timor-Leste tells ETAN that they met with the US Embassy in Dili on 3 February 2011 and successfully settled the dispute about the unfair dismissal of Mario Baretto and their subsequent claim that their national staff cannot join a union. ETAN had written the embassy about the dispute.
From the union: The Embassy advised that they had mistakenly stated their policy and affirmed their staff’s right to join a union:
The US Embassy seeks to be a model employer and respects workers and the role of unions in representing workers. The Administration has been a strong international supporter of labour rights and we want to maintain an open relationship with the unions and labor rights advocates here in Timor-Leste.
The Embassy also confirmed that they seek to be fully compliant with local labour laws and resolved Mr Baretto’s dismissal consistent with the Labour Code of Timor-Leste. The General Workers Union of Timor-Leste and the Trade Union Confederation of Timor-Leste would like to thank all those individuals and organisations that supported Mr Baretto and Timorese workers by writing to the Ambassador.
Please direct any media enquiries to: Almerio Vila Nova.’
The struggles and stories continue – one glimpse over workplace rights.
The SJT-TL in this report seeks for members respect from the employer at work, collective bargaining, health and safety etc – but also campaigns for more jobs, for social security, pensions, and to increase the social status of all citizens and a good life with their families.
I have not here included union collective bargaining successes where unions did not have to resort to strike action.
Other unions have conducted winning strikes without police intervening. One important strike is from Francisco da Costa Fernandes Secretary of the Teachers Union who told me of their two-week strike in Baucau supported by teachers and parents and the community. They forced the Government and Education Department to pay teachers with service their correct legal classification, as well as negotiating improvements in resource basics for schools and to ensure the government complied with rights for teachers as promised – but this is another story. Tito Geromino Secretary of the Construction Workers Union and Paulino da Costa Secretary of the Maritime, Energy and Transport Union and Zito told me of successful resort to the threat of strikes – other stories.
I urge readers to support the SJT-TL and the KSTL and other unions.
You can best do this by joining APHEDA and by raising money for TL unions.
Timor-Leste union struggles and stories continue – this SJT-TL story is one glimpse of workers fighting for their workplace rights.
1. 2nd National Congress of Sindikatu Jeral Trabalhadores Timor Leste (SJT-TL) General Workers Union Congress Dili October 17th 18th 2012
“Together Fighting for Workers Rights and Interests“
Report by Chris White
One hundred and ten 110 delegates members of the SJT-TL and guests attended their Second Congress and debated over two days what they would do in the next four years building their new union. Working in groups in their four divisions of tourism, commerce, industry and the public service, these unionists gave strong support for Almerio Vila-Nova, their young General Secretary who was key to forming the union in 2008.
Workers attend from all sectors (see above).
The Congress is held at a Convent in Comero with good TL food for lunches, and celebration at the conclusion.
After prayers and the singing of the National Anthem, the Congress begins.
The Secretary of State for Policy Employment and Vocational Training, Ilídio Ximenes da Costa, opened the Congress welcoming the delegates. He is the new Minister with Xanana Gusmao returned as PM in the recent Parliamentary elections.
Almerio welcomed all the delegates, resolved to have solidarity nationally and internationally – the SJT is affiliated to the UNI-APRO – took them through the agenda and inspired on union values explaining the reasons for resolutions adopted after speeches.
Greetings are from International guests Matthew Gardiner Secretary of United Voice NT who commits to solidarity and presented an aboriginal painting, a photo of a 1930 rally of Darwin unionists holding a May Day banner with the words ‘An Injury to One is of Concern to All’ and the NT flag.
My speech is in the Appendix.
APHEDA and UNI send their greetings.
Almerio and SJT Executive members debated how to organise with their principles of ‘Solidarity, Independent, Democracy, Unity, Responsibility and Equality’ (see in Appendix).
Delegates discussed issues in their divisions and debated changes and adopted:
• rule changes to their Constitution e.g. now a Federation, clarification of the structures, from regions and districts;
• resolved for the union to campaign for the rights and interests of workers in the Labour Code in each company, requiring the task of education of workers;
• encouraged new union delegates to come to union training sessions, for delegates to continue to educate workers about the union;
• new delegates to be consolidated in each workplace;
• delegates role to improve union membership;
• created an annual prize for the best union delegates;
• involve workers for capacity in collective bargaining in their company with rights for improved collective agreements and their role including how to organise and solve disputes;
• four year strategy 2012 to 2016 adopted with 3 month reports of the progress to the National Council and annually to Conference;
• KSTL affiliation continued;
• New rules for the administration of the union.
Delegates affirmed that their employers are now just paying the new 2012 minimums. Congress accepted a new sliding scale of union dues collected by delegates e.g. a salary $200 – $300 a month now pays $1.25.
In the elections, Almerio Vila-Nova is overwhelmingly re-elected (I assisted counting) and a new Executive of 11, 9 new members, with much applause speeches and photos.
Three are women and Almerio wants to promote more under equality and says in the next four years the SJT-TL needs to invest in training more women leaders.
The SJT-TL strives to get many members to march on May Day.
Press coverage included TV – private, radio and print.
The leadership of other unions strongly supported – Zito KSTL President who spoke on a number of issues; KSTL Secretary Rigoberto (Rigo) Monteiro.
The SJT Counsellor and President for the Congress proceedings is Francisco da Costa Fernandes Secretary of the Teachers Union. He played a major role and as the National Counsellor is to give advice, to assist, and monitor the union to the executive committee.
Elisabeth de Araujo from APHEDA Dili contributed and translated Matthew Gardiner’s and my speeches. She was with Jessica Sequiera from the Working Womens Centre TL campaigning for the rights of women workers and with a new campaign for establishing the rights of domestic workers – excluded from the Labour Code, except for the minimum wage .
Also active at the Congress was Tito Geromino Secretary of the Construction Workers Union; Secretary of the Maritime, Energy and Transport Union; from the Nurses Union, from the Public Service Union; a University Student Movement Association representative; the Agriculture Workers Union representative, and others, and greetings e.g. from the Hotel Timor.
The SJT – as well as seeking for members respect from the employer at work, collective bargaining, health and safety etc – campaigns for more jobs, social security, pensions, and to increase the social status of all citizens and a good life with their families.
I urge readers to support the SJT-TL and the KSTL and other unions.
You can best do this by joining APHEDA and by raising money for TL unions.
I urge support in encouraging new TL unionists to continue to come to Australian union training sessions and exchange union experiences. I ask you to join in solidarity web campaigns.
Before booking a particular hotel, I checked the industrial relations supported the union as earlier that management was in a serious collective bargaining dispute and strike that is now resolved, so, when you come to TL, you may like to check your hotel, restaurant etc supports the union and respect these service workers.
I am looking forward to seeing how unionism with the SJT-TL develops.
Addendum on union principles.
1. Throughout the Congress Almerio, Zito and the leaders urged the following – as I cannot speak Tetum, or Portuguese or Indonesian I have taken below from an English translation of an earlier SJT-TL document explaining the union.
‘The principles of SJT-TL is that of “Solidarity, Independent, Democracy, Unity, Responsibility and Equality”.
• Solidarity means that collective sentiment (togetherness), same destiny where shown by the attitudes to help each other in an organization (care ness as a umbrella) one for all or all for one, (to disappear of the egoism attitude and individualism).
• Independent means that union has liberation to decide in a political way of the organization (to determine the policy) and to make a decision without an intervention from outside / from the others (from out side such like management). Union needs to accumulate all members’ aspiration (grass root), Union openly to have controlled from all members. Leader does not have an authority attitude or base on his needs.
• Unity means that together such as a split or broom of split coconut midribs, and workers has a strong position to make a collective negotiation, with a strong unity, workers will not be spare of each other because it will make our position too weak.
• Responsibility means that union has a responsibility for his member, company, nation and the world community.
• Equality means that union to look and to see and to be effective for all people is same, without any discrimination of gender, race, and ethnic, group religions and political ideology.
1. To develop union movement of tourism sector, commerce, industry and public service in a private sector through an organization and structure establishment delegate in a company level, to develop the human capacity to be effective of the process struggle and will represent all workers interested in.
2. To maintain and strengthen unity between workers in tourism sector, commerce, industry and Public Service of the private sector even though to appear and to be largely all the workers sentimental solidarity among competences.
3. To form the executive structure this is compost of the four divisions with the position such like general coordinator base on the division.
4. To give a protection and members defense rights and all interest.
5. To improve condition of the members life and families, to improve the condition of work through the way to make collective negotiation with the company management.
6. To increase productivity of work or to achieve national development.
7. For-bit the industrial relation in harmony in which to create work in quite and to enrich the productivity of work and the prosperity of life for all members.’
My speech to the 2012 Congress.
Thank you to Almerio Vila-Nova General Secretary for inviting me to your Congress. Thank you to all of you.
It is a good for me to be here. It is good for you to be at this Congress. You can be proud as SJT delegates.
Union delegates make decisions on what to do and this is union democracy. I wish you well in your strategic plans.
You listen to your leaders. Almerio is a good leader. I was here at your Presidential elections. I asked Almerio about many union issues and strikes he led. He told me the stories. We talked about good points, how to win.
I am a strong supporter of the right to strike for workers.
In your Constitution is a right to strike and no lockout from the employer. I know that your right to strike has restrictions.
Employers have to respect your union rights.
Your right to join a union, your right to organise, your right to collective bargaining and to use the strike for your interests.
Workers’ collectively have more power than one worker alone.
One stick is weak but a bundle tied together is stronger.
Joining together in solidarity.
An injury to one is an injury to all.
The union makes us strong.
I am very concerned about your police when they illegally try to bust up your lawful strikes. Your police are not allowed to be on the side of the employers.
Your police are not allowed to intimidate the workers. Your police are not allowed to arrest workers on a lawful strike.
Workers are allowed to peacefully meet and assemble and be on a picket line and citizens are free to join in support.
We ask the Xanana Gusmao government to ensure the police do not intervene in your strikes and threaten the workers.
I am a strong supporter of all workers’ rights.
Your minimum rights in the Labor Code have to be followed by the employers.
The Secretary of State and the Department of Labour must enforce them.
Zito KSTL and Almerio said to me a “lack of understanding from Timor Leste workers about unions is one of the major problems that unions are facing.”
The government with the unions should educate workers on your union rights and interests.
You have four challenges to assist workers.
1. Education of what a union does.
2. How to build unionism and make stronger your organisation.
3. How to do union agitation.
4. Solidarity with all other workers and their unions.
You are not alone. Unions overseas can give support.
May Day is all over the world.
Your problems are the same problems workers face everywhere under capitalism.
Unions fight to end exploitation and to assist the needs of all people.
I have four more lessons for unions around the world.
1. A Fighting Union Takes Organization
The Union wins when we build our organisation.
The Internet is good, but it is not as good as person-to-person talking.
2. Unions have to be Bold
Taking a bold stand builds more support.
Do not be timid to give your union opinion on the social aspects, economic and politics that have a negative impact for your union members.
Many rules are not in our favor and a union is bold to disrupt unjust rules.
It is good to be a Union Troublemaker.
3. Unions do not discriminate – everyone is the union
Unions have to include everyone.
One task is to make sure women workers are in unions.
‘All working men and women are entitled to be equal’ is in your Labor Code. An employer is not allowed to discriminate in any way.
Please read ‘Article 6 Principles of Equality – put in details.
4. Hold Politicians Accountable
Make politicians of every party and in government do what they promise.
Union demands on government are for what is necessary for people’s needs.
I support the GWU and the KSTL being independent from a political party.
My history is I was educated at the University of Adelaide in political science and law. Then I worked as a union advocate for 30 years.
First for workers the same as the SJT-TL – the Miscellaneous Workers Union, now United Voice.
Then I was elected to the United Trades and Labour Council of South Australia for 17 years – UTLC of SA is similar to the KSTL, but in the State of South Australia. I am still a Union Troublemaker and live in Darwin.
Congratulations to you on your Congress. October 17th 2012.
APHEDA and ILO Union training issues for KSTL and TL unions.
I. Target Groups
1. 8 Union officials from Five individual union who in charge of
Industrial Relation Officers, including hospitality and retails
2. 6 negotiator from all individual unions
• This project will carried out and implemented by Industrial Relation Officer and the National Executives Committee of TLTUC
• The National Executives Committee of TLTUC will make a decision for the implementation of the project.
• This project will be founded by ILO in Timor Leste
II. Long Term Objectives
The long-term objective of the project is to have better skills and capacity in Financial and Economic Analysis to improved.
Appendix 5 Further references of the independence struggles for Timor-Leste.
‘The Circle of Silence’ by Shirley Shackleton ‘A personal testimony before, during and after Balibo.’ Shirley Shackleton’s searing portrayal won the prize for her dramatic story the telling of her struggle to get to the truth about her husband journalist killed with four others at Balibo in 1975 by the invading Indonesian troops. Her fight is against the repressive Indonesian military and for the dogged resistance by the East Timorese people for their independence. Her efforts led to the inquest showing the Australian government’s cover-up of the murders. The circle of silence on the Balibo murderers are still unresolved. The criminal inadequacies of Liberal-National and Labor governments and the deliberate pro-Indonesian dictatorship exposed.
‘Finding Santana’ by Jill Jolliffe (Wakefield Press) 2011.
An exciting adventure story of journalist Jill Jolliffe’s perilous journey in avoiding the Indonesian’s repressive secret police and military to find Comandante Nino Konis Santana, one of East Timor’s honoured guerrilla heroes.
Jill Jolliffe adds to one of her earlier books Balibo – now the film.
I read her views on “Psychological Healing As A Prerequisite To Good Governance In East Timor” in the Charles Darwin University publication ‘Democratic Governance in Timor-Leste: Reconciling the Local and the National” edited by David Mearns 2008.
‘Reluctant Saviour: Australia, Indonesia and the independence of East Timor’ (Scribe 2004) by Clinton Fernandes explodes the myth that Howard and Downer took the initiative in the fight for East Timorese self-determination – it is the opposite.
Clinton Fernandes’ book is a must read: ‘The Independence of East Timor: Multidimensional perspectives – Occupation, Resistance and International Political Activism’, (Sussex Academic Press, UK, 2011). This book is a history of the struggle for independence after East Timor was invaded by Indonesia in 1975. The occupation, which lasted 24 years, was immediately resisted through guerrilla warfare and clandestine resistance. A continuum of effort between the armed freedom fighters in the mountains, the resilience of urban supporters, and international activism and support eventually brought about liberation in September 1999. Their successful resistance is unique in the history of guerrilla warfare and independence struggles. Equally uncommon was an unexpected weapon in the struggle – a remarkable display of strategic non-violent action. This is first study to integrate all the major factors in East Timor’s independence struggle. The multi-dimensional perspectives addressed in this volume include Indonesian, US and Australian diplomacy; Indonesian military operations and activities against the populace; East Timorese resistance at all social levels; human rights abuses; the issue of oil; and international diplomacy resulting from global solidarity activism.
Shakedown: Australia’s Grab For Timor Oil by Paul Cleary (Allen&Unwin 2007).
‘In 2000 one of the poorest nations on earth began negotiations with Australia over rights to the lucrative oil and gas resources of the Timor Sea. With the revenue from the oil and gas fields, the young democracy of East Timor would have a chance to secure its economic future. If Australia would allow it.
This is the inside story of Australia’s attempts to bully East Timor out of a promising future in the Timor Sea oil dispute. Paul Cleary, in this compelling insight into Australia’s international operations, Cleary exposes the heroes and villains who emerged in a one-hundred-billion-dollar shakedown.’
‘The Men Who Came Out Of The Ground A Gripping Account of Australia’s First Commando Campaign: Timor 1942’ by Paul Cleary ( Hachette 2010)
‘The exciting story of a small force of Australian Special Forces commandos that launched relentless hit and run raids on far superior Japanese forces in East Timor for most of 1942.
Sara Niner “Xanana Leader of the Struggle for Independent Timor-Leste” (2009 Australian Scholarly Publishing) is the political biography of Xanana Gusmao resistance leader for independence and for unifying East Timorese nationalism from his childhood to First president and now PM. This books recounts many details for the first time and is an emotional read as Xanana copes with the Indonesian military genocide and current political traumas.
Sarah Niner edited “To Resist is to Win The Autobiography of Xanana Gusmao.” (Aurora Books 2000).
For post-independence current debates on Timor-Leste development, read “East Timor Beyond Independence” 2007 edited by Damien Kingsbury and Michael Leach (2007 Monash University Press.)
For more stories put Timor-Leste into this blog search.