Indonesia’s Workers Protest Against Outsourcing, Low Wages
Around 10,000 workers descended on Jalan Rasuna Said and Jalan Gatot Subroto in South Jakarta on Thursday to stage protests against outsourcing and low wages.
The protestors, who came from several areas including Jakarta and Karawang, demanded that Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskander not ignore his responsibility to fight for workers’ rights.
“We demand the government gives a decent wage that’s in line with the workers’ daily needs. We also demand the government erase outsourcing because it makes the lives of the workers miserable,” said Baris Silitonga, the protest coordinator.
The protestors, who were mostly members of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Unions (KSPI) and the Indonesian Labor Union, threatened to hold a national strike if the government failed to comply with their demands by October.
“We demand that the outsourcing system be erased by Oct. 15,” said KSPI president Said Iqbal, while staging a demonstration in front of the Health Ministry.
He said 2.8 million workers will hold another strike on Oct. 3 and will close industry centers by force if needed.
Protestors also rejected the requirement for workers to partially pay for health-insurance premiums and share the burden with employers, as recommended by the Health Ministry.
According to Iqbal, 10 million workers in 28 provinces will hold a nationwide strike lasting seven days if the government fails to guarantee health insurance for them and an end to outsourcing by the start of the new year. He added that workers were also threatening to close 12 toll gates in protest in early November.
Iqbal said workers also demanded the government issue a regulation that includes anyone with income the same as or below the minimum wage as the recipients of premium payment assistance (PBI).
All Indonesian Workers Union (KSPSI) president Mudhofir said he distributed a notice to all labor unions in 14 provinces regarding the Oct. 3 national strike plan.
“Our demand is un-negotiable and we will stage demonstrations in all places, including the regional legislative council, mayors and district heads’ office,” he said.
Iqbal said Health Ministry officials who met with the protestors agreed with the Social Security Action Committee (KAJS) and Indonesian Labor Council’s views, and promised to take their demands to the health minister and eight other ministers to be formulated into the government regulation bill and the bill on the Social Security Organizing Body (BPJS),