The ACTU has taken up the case of 67,000 striking forestry workers in Indonesia who are being denied a legally agreed pay rise that would bring their minimum wage to the equivalent of $A34. per week.

Members of the forestry union SP KahutIndo began industrial action in East Kalimantan last month when timber employers refused to pass on the wage increase for 2002 mandated under a two-year collective agreement signed in November 2000.

Employers have attempted to circumvent the agreement by pressuring the Governor of East Kalimantan to order an inferior wage increase, even though the regional parliament of East Kalimantan has backed the union.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the dispute threatened the emergence of democratic unions in Indonesia, the rule of Indonesian industrial law and breached international conventions on collective bargaining.

Ms Burrow has written to the Governor of East Kalimantan asking him to reconsider his position and urge employers in the region to honour the collective agreement in full.

The ACTU has called on affiliates and union members to fax their support on this issue to the Governor of East Kalimantan on
0011 62 541 742111.

The ACTU initiative is backed by the powerful International Federation of Building and Wood Workers (IFBWW) with over 12 million members in 124 countries worldwide.

For further information contact: Jeremy Vermeesch 0408 513 849