MALUKU, INDONESIA: Dozens of cleaning workers, purportedly agitated due to the non-receipt of their salaries for the past three months, orchestrated a dramatic protest at the West Seram Regency Office.
This incident unfolded on Monday (20 Nov), commencing at 5:30 am local time.
According to gathered information, these cleaning officers discarded approximately 20 tons of rubbish directly in front of the regent’s office.
The repercussions of this bold act extended beyond mere inconvenience, as the State Civil Apparatus (ASN) found themselves unable to conduct their morning assembly.
This disruption, capturing the frustration of the cleaning workers, rapidly gained attention through video clips circulating on social media platforms.
On Monday (20 Nov), a TikTok user with the handle “gesertimur” uploaded a video capturing the event.
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The accompanying caption voiced the sentiments of the cleaning workers, expressing disappointment and attributing it to the perceived incompetence of the West Seram Regent officials in addressing prevailing issues.
The call for an immediate evaluation of the regent’s officials resonated as the video gained traction and was subsequently re-uploaded by various other social media accounts.
The video footage depicted the transportation of tens of tons of rubbish using four trucks, each loaded with three to five tons of waste, to the regent’s office yard.
The trash heaps, lingering from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm local time, not only symbolized the workers’ discontent but also created a significant disturbance for other employees attempting to access their offices, given the unpleasant stench emanating from the accumulated rubbish.
Cleaning staff member protests unpaid wages by dumping rubbish at regent’s office
M, a member of the cleaning staff, candidly acknowledged that the decision to discard rubbish in front of the regent’s office stemmed from the dire circumstance of not receiving their wages from the Regency Government for a staggering three months.
M clarified that this act served as a form of protest against the prolonged withholding of their rightful compensation, as reported by Kompas on Monday (20 Nov)
Expressing frustration, M revealed that the cleaning staff had previously communicated their predicament to both the regent and the environmental service.
Despite these efforts, the local government remained unresponsive, neglecting to address their grievances and release the pending wages.
In addition to the financial strain caused by the unpaid wages, the cleaning workers felt compelled to take drastic action due to the absence of Social Security Agency on Health (BPJS Kesehatan) and National Social Security Agency for Employment (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan) benefits.
M articulated their disappointment, stating, “So we are very disappointed, we also don’t have BPJS for health and employment, until a colleague of ours had an accident but didn’t get anything.”
Expressing a deep-seated discontent, M emphasized, “To be honest, they only want to use our labour but don’t want to pay for our rights.”
This sentiment reflected a broader sentiment among the cleaning staff, who perceived a lack of acknowledgement and compensation for their essential contributions.
The decision to throw rubbish in front of the regent’s office was seen by M as a desperate yet strategic move to compel the competent officials in the district to acknowledge the severity of their situation and promptly address the underlying issues.
Urging for a moral awakening, M stated, “Let their conscience be open, so that this problem can be resolved quickly.”
This action, while disruptive, served as a poignant plea for recognition and fair treatment from the authorities responsible.
Acting Regent of West Seram expresses regret and seeks resolution for cleaning staff protest
Andy Chandra As’aduddin, the Acting Regent of West Seram in Maluku, expressed regret over the recent protest action carried out by the daily cleaning staff.
Chandra acknowledged the importance of open communication between the cleaning staff and the local government to find a constructive solution to their concerns.
He admitted to actively seeking a resolution by instructing the head of the Environmental Service to address the matter promptly.
Despite his efforts, Chandra conveyed his frustration with the bureaucratic process, stating, “I’ve given them the solution, now it’s not being executed by the existing bureaucracy, I don’t know what the head of the department told them.”
This indicated a potential breakdown in communication or implementation within the government structure.
In response to the demand for three months’ unpaid wages, Chandra clarified that he had directly communicated with the protesting cleaning workers.
He explained the nature of their employment as freelance daily workers, emphasizing that their wages were calculated based on the number of days worked, not on a monthly basis.
“Earlier we discussed that it turned out that their wages were three months,” he shared, shedding light on the discrepancy in understanding the payment structure.
Chandra further elucidated the freelance nature of the cleaning staff’s employment, noting that they were considered daily workers and, as such, were compensated on a daily basis.
He highlighted the fact that during holidays such as Christmas and New Year, when they didn’t work, they were designated as freelance daily workers.
This distinction aimed to clarify the payment system in place for the cleaning staff and the reasoning behind their wages being calculated on a daily, rather than a monthly, basis.
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