By Chris Latham
On April 1, Indonesian students involved in the National Student League for Democracy (LMND) participated in a national mobilisation in Jakarta demanding that the government abandon plans to cut education subsidies to state universities. The policy is expected to result in tuition fee increases of around 300%.
The cuts are part of the broader austerity measures introduced by the Indonesian government on April 1, under the guidance of the International Monetary Fund and its Coordinating Group on Indonesia (CGI), in order to repay Indonesia's debts to international banks and corporations.
The slashing of subsidies on other basic items such as food, cooking oil and electricity will force workers, peasants and students to shoulder a greater share of the burden of the 1997-99 economic crisis.
The LMND sent a solidarity statement to the March 22 national day of action against education privatisation in Australia. It was read out at many of the rallies and received a good response.
It explained that due to rising living and education costs there has been a large drop in the number of students going on to attend high schools and universities. Of the 4.5 million high school students enrolled in 1996-97 only 2 million entered university studies in 2000. At the same time only around 5 million of the 7.5 million junior high school students enrolled in high school.
The LMND is demanding: no cuts to education subsidies, free education for the people, and for the arms bill to be cut so that more funds can be allocated to education.
ASIET member Kerryn Williams told Resistance magazine, “The fact that the Indonesian and Australian governments are pursuing the same policy of shifting education costs onto students and their families makes building solidarity between the campaigns of students here and there very important.”
From Green Left Weekly issue #400
Thursday, May 4, 2000
By Chris Latham
Wednesday, May 3, 2000
BY CHRIS LATHAM
MOSS VALE — Police forcibly removed people from a picket line at the Joy Mining heavy machinery manufacturing plant on April 27 to allow the removal of the plant's hydraulics workshop equipment. The picket was established last week by supporters of the workers who were locked out for three months on April 17 after injunctions were taken out by Joy Mining against the Australian Workers Union, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and Electrical Trades Union.
Until April 27, the police had allowed the union and then the picketers to prevent vehicle access to the plant. It now appears that Joy Mining intends to shift all the machinery off site, and that the police will try to ensure this happens.
The removal of equipment from the site and reports from the AMWU that Joy Mining's parent company, Harnischfeger Industries, has filed for bankruptcy in the United States raises doubts about the workers' continued employment.
The picketers are determined to stop any further equipment being removed and are urging others to join them on the picket line on Vale Road (just off Suttor Road) in Moss Vale. For more information, contact the Wollongong Resistance Centre on (02) 4226 2010.