SJT-TL photos disputes and Congress 2012 save and
update Almerio Villa-Nova’s speech in Darwin march 23rd at United Voice delegates meeting
Almerio J. Vila-Nova, General Secretary, Sindikatu Jeral Trabalhadores Timor Leste/ SJT-TL
Thank you for the invitation, thank you for comrade Mattew Gardiner for invaiting me. It is a great honor for me to participate in this conference.
SJT-TL just hold its second national congress last 5 monsth agou and we was inviting Mattew as our big comrade to SJT-TL congress in order to guarantee democratic process during the congress, so thank you again to Comrade Mattew, thank you to United Voice for your solidarity to promote democratic in our trade union.
I bring the view from the street, from the working people that employed in hospitality, comercee, industry and service providers workers in Timor Leste.
I am working full time with General Workers Union/ SJT-TL as General Secretary.
Our union still very young, just establish in October, 2008. We all are young in the trade union movement in Timor Leste. Your union is very strong because your commitment and hard work from all of you here. We and our Delegate have to learn from United Voice, from all of you here what you have been done in the past.
General Workers Union establishes in 2008, many of industrial disputes are happen in our union sector that I just mantion above.
One dispute was happen in one hotel in Dili for example. This industrial dispute happen because of very unfair working condition such as no working contract, no holiday/ no day off, no overtime, long working hours, etc, and this working condition are going many years. This hotel is employs morethan 30 staff but only 7 womens are brave to improving their working condition and they won. Their won because they are union members (union fully support them even they didn’t have support from their collegues inside the company) and also they won because they are trust in their struggle.
Our members must have to know 5 principle of trade union struggle such as:
1. Members must be trust in union struggle
2. Members must be follow union orientation
3. Sentiment of solidarity for all
4. Commitment to sacrifice to the others
This principle must be attributed to all of our union members.
I was a union delegate, I was working in hospitality (Maritime Hotel/ Floating Hotel) before. Many of violation to our right happen in our company such us long working hours without overtime payment, unfair dismissal, no public holidays and etc. This practical happen because we don’t know on our rights, we don’t know about Labor Code that stated on workers fundamental rights, we don’t know about union, and we only know our job and our respnsability as workers. We cannot negosiated with management about our working condition because we are scared to loss our job and absolutely management will not listen to us. We realize that we are a weak person, so how can we improving our working condition.
Unity and solidarity only the way to improving working condition (at that time we don’t know union). Unity and solidarity arising among us, unity grows because of injustice situation, solidarity only grow from our hearth and nobody can push you. So we are organizing each other to collectively form a staff commite in order to fighting for our rights. Because of our unity we can negosiate with the strong management and management listen to our demand. Afterwards we are also joining with union KSTL to have powerfull bargaining on the table, because union makes us strong and that are happen in my beginning story with union at my working place.
As a union delegate, I have responsibility to do my work as a delegate; I have responsibility to my union and members in my company, I can do my works as delegate because I have commitment to my union (KSTL), and nobody can do union work voluntarily if they have no commitment because union work is not a job, is not a career but it is commitment.
I would like also to describe in the general context of trade union movement in the young country of Timor Leste, we can say that new things for the people of Timor Leste, particularly for working people.
Under Portugis colonialism, Timorese working people didn’t have opportunity to speak on their rights in working relation, they don’t know about their rights because they don’t have opportunity to know their rights. They just know their obligation to do the job, and the job that they are doing is not different like slavish.
In the periode of Indonesian occupation during 24 years, only few of Timorese working people know on they are rights and got minimum protection to they are rights at that time. Timorese working people still don’nt have sufficient opportunity to understand they are rights because of the political situation at that time. Workers can’t have opportunity to have meeting to organize themself and to speak about they are rights because the military will consider the workers have political intention to support for the independent of Timor Leste.
But today Timor Leste come in to new periode as the end of long struggle for liberty of the patria, to govern our own country, the people of Timor Leste have big opportunity to develop they are own country, to liberty they are life from poverty to prosperity in all aspect. Because when we look to the pass history were abounding with darkness, so in this time, the time for development of Timor Leste as independent country, time to liberty the people from poverty to the life with prosperity, in particularly protection to workers rights in labor relation.
In our national constitution have 3 article wich is article 51, 52 and 53 regulated about fundamental of workers rights.
First assembly members have good intension to guarantee and protect to specific rights of the working people. Based on this constitution as a reference, and after restoration of independent in 2002, the first governments, through the competent ministry together with sosial partner establish new Labor Code for Timor Leste. Even we have our constitution and labor code but government still weak in implementation of labor code, so still have many of violation and exploration to workers rights until now. No job security, because the employer will dismiss them based on their desirability. Employer dismisses workers when they know the workers become union members. Workers try to negosiate with their employer to improving their working condition, but the employers just ignoring them and continuing to implemented bad working condition. This is the practical situation that employer shown to the workers during the time until now.
Police intervention to industrial dispute happen many times when union organizing for campign and intervention police always arrest union leader, and stop the campign or working strike, it is like police give protection to the employers and also like psychology terror to union official and members. This is the situation that our (SJT-TL) union facing.
Many challenges we are facing not only from outside organization but also internal organization. We and our delegate have to learn from you and your union struggle here, one of our strategic plan this year is to strengthening our union delegate at workplace to be strong and more actively participate in trade union activity, more actively play their role as union leader at workplace. Long way to go as a leader of union and together with our executive members will move forwards to face our challenges.
Today by sharing experience among us, become moment important for our trade union to to learn and to fortify our self and also delegate members because union delegate is one of the powers of trade union in the working place.
Union delegate is heart of trade union, without hearth (delegate) trade union can’t be long life.
Thank you again for the opportunity to be here, it is great opportunity for us to learn from you. I hope that this moment can strengthen our union relation in the future. Comrade Mattew is very good leader, I was learn manythings from him, he advice me about union work, union leadership, so thank you for everythings.
Viva United Voice…………………………..
DARWIN, 22 March 2013
UNITED VOICE DELEGATE CONFERENCE