Indah Budiarti is a nurse and midwife; acting secretary of the Asia Pacific Youth Network (APYN), as well as an organizer and educator with the PSI. The PSI represents 20 million public sector workers and Indah works for the PSI Asia Pacific office in Singapore. She is currently completing her Masters at the Global Labour University in Germany Best. As part of her Master’s programme, Indah elected to do a six-week intensive internship with CUPE, a PSI affiliate. In an interview with CUPE, Indah explained her choice “CUPE has a long history of support in international solidarity with PSI and CUPE is the biggest union in Canada. It has a strong campaign on quality public services – fighting privatization; and it is important to learn from this developed country’s well established union and see what I can bring back to Asia where there is a strong history of trade unionism, and we can compare with the developed country union and developing country union. The ongoing CUPE work and campaigns – its continuous struggle, and commitment of the work of the union to protect the interests of quality public services and protect the members of union, is very interesting to me.”
Indah’s home union is the Pharmacy and health workers union in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. “In 1998 after the collapse of the regime there was a change in democracy in Indonesia. It was time to build a new democracy. The new democracy ratified the ILO conventions on Freedom of association and the right to organize,” explained Indah.
In September 1999, PSI opened an office in Indonesia. There are approximately 2 to 2.5 million public sector workers in Indonesia. “We observe this potential in Indonesia and PSI appointed me to establish a link with potential members for PSI,” she said. “Of course for the new established unions I did mapping in the workplace and established good relationships to explain what the international union is and slowly develop relationships. In 2005 we signed up five new affiliates – three from electricity, one from water union and one from airport services,” said Indah.
In addition to her recruiting and organizing members, the PSI also provides education and facilitation. “The new unions have the right to collective bargaining. So we do work on what is collective bargaining and how to do it. I admire CUPE education, because it is based on the need to provide skill and knowledge in order to protect the interests and rights at work,” said Indah.
During Indah’s six-week stay with CUPE she will visit with officers at the national office, attend a week long school in Manitoba, observe a Division convention in Saskatchewan and sit in on a bargaining session in Ottawa.