Anti-Chinese Sentiment Among Factory Workers Escalates in Central Sulawesi

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Conflicts in the workplace, wage disparity and language barriers have all contributed in fueling an anti-Chinese sentiment among workers in the Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP) in Central Sulawesi, according to a beritagar report.

Two videos have recently gone viral showing fights between local and Chinese workers at the nickel industrial area.

One of the videos shows some Chinese workers not allowing Muslim workers to perform Friday prayer. Despite claiming to provide interpreters for their Chinese employees, IMIP says that the conflict was caused by mere miscommunication.

The frustration over their Chinese counterpart had apparently been brewing among the Indonesian workers with rumors of the higher wages given to the workers from China.

Local workers, who get paid around Rp.2.5 million for an eight-hour shift daily, say their Chinese counterparts are paid two to four times more for doing a 12-hour shift.

The locals also claim that there has been a mass arrival of Chinese nationals into the area to seize half of all the jobs available at IMIP. The company, however, has maintained that the accusations are untrue saying that less than 2,000 of their roughly 19,000 workers are from China.

“There cannot be 5,000 Chinese workers. Where do we put them? The factory is not even big enough. Just check,” said IMIP executive director Alexander Barus said.

 

Photo courtesy of beritagar.com, Istimewa /Arsip Aliansi Rakyat dan Buruh Bersatu

For further reading on the Chinese in Indonesia, click here.

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Ardi Wirdana is a Jakarta-based journalist covering a variety of topics including business, policy, and news in Indonesia.