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Indonesia: solidarity brings reduced sentence for union leader

The trial of Reni Desmiria ( , secretary of the SPBMI union of workers at seafood processor Bumi Menara Internusa (BMI) in Lampung, Indonesia, has concluded with her conviction and a reduced sentence. The notoriously corrupt legal system declared her guilty as expected, but faced with campaigns at local, national and international level was forced to reduce the sentence to 4 months with time served.

The union has warmly thanked the thousands of worker rights defenders around the
world who supported their struggle, which continues.

BMI, which supplies major sea food processors like Aqua Star ( and Chicken of the Sea ( , now faces criminal charges brought by the IUF-affiliated independent food processing union federation SPBMM and the legal aid foundation LBH. Sworn testimony by BMI management at the trial indicated systematic wage theft, underpayment of the applicable minimum wage, systematic abuse of casual employment and failure to provide mandatory benefits. Testimony and evidence provided by union members has strengthened the
criminal suit. BMI's corporate customers now have to explain how they failed to detect years of criminal employment practices on the part of a first-tier supplier.

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