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5. State and Employer Reaction

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Chapter Summary

At the beginning of 1933 De Jonge determined to bring dissident elements in the colony to heel. The colonial government struck back at its critics in the first week of January 1933. Indonesian public sector unions entered 1933 despairing at the impact of the Depression on the colony. In the first half of 1933 Partindo and PNI Baru continued to expand their urban constituencies by increasing their influence within existing labour unions and by creating new unions. The Indonesian Workers' Congress was held in Surabaya in the first week of May 1933. It was a difficult time for the labour and political movements. The pre-emptive strike by NIS management revealed the weakness of labour unions in colonial Indonesia. The PSSI, the Surabaya federation of private sector unions, had entered 1932 with over 5,000 members in affiliated unions. The phrase "European only on paper" was a non-too-subtle reference to Eurasians.

Keywords: colonial government; De Jonge; Eurasians; Indonesian public sector unions; Indonesian Workers' Congress; NIS management; Partindo; PNI Baru; PSSI; urban constituencies



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