Indonesia: 103 Chinese migrant workers plead for help after being stranded in Sulawesi for over five months; Chinese employers did not respond
[Unofficial translation provided by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre]
20 March 2022
A total of 103 Chinese migrant workers have been stranded in Sulawesi for more than five months. According to the workers, they came to Indonesia on work visas but their Chinese employers refused to renew their visas as work had been suspended. Workers' poor physical and mental health conditions have become a matter of concern.
Among the 103 workers, at least 90 are ordinary migrant workers, and some are directors or managers. 95% of them are from Linfen, Shanxi Province, who have been working in Indonesia since November 2019. These workers are contracted by multiple employers, including Macrolink, Inner Mongolia Shuofeng Industries Co. Ltd. and Shanghai Baoshuo Industrial Group Co. Ltd.
These workers have been stranded in Sulawesi, Indonesia for more than five months since the shutdown. The company agreed to issue an allowance equal to 50% of workers' salary, which is around 3000-5000 yuan per month. However, they are not entitled to pandemic allowances, work delay allowances, work suspension allowances or full-attendance allowances. Their year-end bonuses have been deducted and they can only rely on basic living allowances. The workers find it hard to accept. Their prolonged stay in Indonesia means that they cannot provide for their families and they can only live on basic living allowances.
According to the workers, they came to Indonesia on work visas but their Chinese employers refused to renew their visas as work had been suspended. Although the companies provide meals and accommodation, the workers have no medical insurance. A worker who had a tumour had to go all the way to Jakarta for an operation, which cost about 50,000 RMB. Another worker has heart disease and is barely getting by. Two are obviously depressed, and they are taken care of by other workers. They once contacted authorities in China and Indonesia, including the security and labour departments of the place they are based, but they were all passing the buck. They have now issued a new joint plea in the hope that their needs will be communicated to the authorities and they can return home soon. […]
[Updated clarification: the company agreed to pay back the medical cost of the worker who had tumour and got an operation in Jarkarta through the insurance reimbursement]