Hundreds go on strike at Indonesia's largest cargo terminal

JAKARTA (AFP) - Hundreds of workers have gone on strike at Indonesia's largest container terminal, a union official said Friday (Aug 4), paralysing operations and forcing incoming shipments to be diverted.

Nearly 700 employees at the Jakarta International Container Terminal (JICT), the bulk of the workforce, stopped work Thursday for a strike intended to last a week, the company's labour union said.

"The strike has paralysed the loading and unloading process as well as the terminal's activity," Mokhammad Firmansyah, the union's secretary general, told AFP.

Workers are demanding to be paid last year's production bonus in full, after it was cut by more than 40 percent, Firmansyah said.

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The Indonesian Logistics Association said the strike would damage the country's reputation as an export and import hub.

"This uncertainty will hurt Indonesia's exports as foreign buyers could turn to other countries," the association's chairman, Zaldy Masita, told AFP.

Indonesia's government denied the strike had disrupted the flow of containers and vessels to Tanjung Priok port, which accounts for 70 per cent of the country's container capacity.

However, incoming vessels have been diverted to four other terminals at the port, said Bay Hasani, a sea traffic and transport official at the transport ministry.

JICT, whose controlling shareholder is Hong Kong's Hutchison Ports, handles about 40 percent of the containers at the Jakarta port.