Hanafi Rustandi

It is with shock and sadness that the ITF reports the death of Hanafi Rustandi, a true giant of trade unionism, while representing seafarers at a pivotal meeting in Japan.

ITF president and MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin and Joe Fleetwood, general secretary of MUNZ, sent the news from the scene: “We sadly report that friend and comrade of the MUA, MUNZ and the ITF, and long term leader of the Indonesian seafarers’ union the KPI, and ITF Asia Pacific chair Hanafi Rustandi has passed away suddenly in Tokyo where the ITF dockers’ and seafarers’ negotiating team is meeting with international shipowners to finalise the IBF (International Bargaining Forum) international agreement.

“Brother Hanafi was found by MUNZ general secretary Joe Fleetwood, who was in the next room at the hotel, and he and comrade Crumlin were in attendance for the attempt to revive him over the next hour.

“Hanafi was a regular attendee of the MUA national council, quadrennial conference of members and branch conferences, particularly in Western Australia, along with attendance at MUNZ executives and conferences.

“He was a fierce supporter of Australian and New Zealand seafarers’ right to work and in particular intervened on a number of occasions to ensure offshore vessels working out of Indonesia in Australian waters were manned by Australian crews and firmly rejected any attempt by offshore operators to replace Australian crews with his or any other nations’ seafarers. He worked closely with comrade Fleetwood and MUNZ in fighting the wage slavery in the international fishing industry, particularly in New Zealand.

“A long-time union official, his shout of “Fight from the Front” was well known around the world and was well recognisable everywhere,  in his MUA t-shirt making that call during the Your Rights at Work  campaign against the Howard Government.

“The national secretary and president of the ITF, together with MUNZ general secretary Joe Fleetwood and ITF general secretary Steve Cotton have extended their, the unions’ and ITF officers’, staff and affiliates’ deepest sympathies to his wife and family and to the officers, staff and members of the KPI, as well as his many brothers and sisters worldwide, particularly in the ITF.

“Vale Brother Hanafi, small in stature and giant at heart. Seafarer, trade unionist, labour leader and internationalist. Much loved. Man of humour, deep faith and family. Now at rest after Fighting from the Front to his last.”

See an album of photos of Hanafi Rustandi fighting for workers’ rights below. 

ITF general secretary Steve Cotton described the Hanafi he knew: “It feels unbelievable that such a vibrant and ever-fighting personality is no longer with us. We grieve for him, and for his family, friends and union members.

“Hanafi was a battler for what he believed in. He never deviated from that path, even during the many regime changes in Indonesia, and often at personal risk. His visit to Iran to find out the situation for bus driver unionists there is just one example of his courage and sense of duty.

“Hanafi has died as he lived, a strong and outspoken advocate for trade unionists, and a defender to the last of seafarers’ rights. The world has today lost a tireless and irreplaceable campaigner. We mourn his loss and remember his example.”

Biography

Hanafi Rustandi was president of the KPI (Kesatuan Pelaut Indonesia), chair of the ITF Asia Pacific region, a member of the ITF executive board, and a member of the Indonesian Maritime Council. Born in February 1945, married, with four children, Hanafi became a KPI branch chair in 1980, then an ITF labour education officer two years later. In 1987 he was elected general secretary of the KPI, the Indonesian seafarers’ union, in which he served until his sudden death. 

You can share your memories of this inspirational trade union leader in the comments section on this page. 

 

 

 

 

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Chen, Jane-Long(James)

565 Days Ago
There’s no word that can express how sorry we are to hear about the death of Brother Hanafi. I was very stunned to hear this news and still can’t believe that it really happened. For a long time brotherhood are between NCSU and KPI. During this difficult moment, our thoughts and prayers are always with him. Brother Hanafi was a very thoughtful and wonderful person. We will never forget those meeting we had work with him, and we will always miss Brother Hanafi.
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Kona Vishnu

565 Days Ago
The National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) and affiliates express deep shock and grief on behalf of 1.3 Million Workers on Indian Railways over the sad demise of Brother Hanafi Rustandi, Chair Asia Pacific Region & President Kesatuan Pelaut Indonesia (KPI). Please convey our heart felt condolences to KPI family, friends and all union members.
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Erik Bratvold

566 Days Ago
Hanafi, a friend for many years. We share a lot of memories and good times together. You will be deaply missed. Rest in peace.
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Wayne Butson

566 Days Ago
I am proud to have called Brother Hanafi Rustandi a comrade and friend. I am deeply saddened by his untimely passing and the knowledge that I will not see his infectious, joyous and warm smile again. Hanafi lead from the front and was always forthright in his words and convictions. We the members of the ITF are the poorer for his passing and so we must all ensure that his legacy and values live on within Asia Pacific. Leaders and rank and file members of the RMTU NZ mourn the loss of our comrade and we send our aroha and support to his colleagues in KPI and his breaved family and friends. Go with God Brother.
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Thomas Sebastian

566 Days Ago
The Dockers of Cochin Port Staff Association express deepest condolences over the sad demise of the departed giant Trade Unionist.He was a fighter without compromise for workers rights.He worked always to increase solidarity between Dockers and Seafarers. Hats off to the departed Leader for his valuable contributions to the trade union principles.Also pray Almighty to strengthen his bereaved family.
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Kees Marges

566 Days Ago
Makes me sad. I knew this very kind colleague very well. I never forget that we sat together during the ITF FPC dinner on the 4th of May 1993 in Hamburg. I explained to him the special symbolic of sitting together, a Dutchman and his friend from Indonesia on this date in Hamburg. Eating together while in the Netherlands at the same time the official two minutes silence was hold to remember the people who died during the occupation by the Germans in the 40's. Many years before that occupation there was the other occupation of Indonesia by the Dutch. We of course talked about both occupations. We enjoined the dinner.
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Jim GIven

566 Days Ago
Hanafi was a friend, a leader, a trade unionist but most important a man of great values. I met him as a young ITF Inspector and remember him for his meaningful words and dedication. We will all miss our friend and comrade. Fair winds and following Seas Brother!
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