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Indonesian workers nationwide rally for fair wages and job security on Labour Day 2024

On 1 May, Indonesian workers will rally against low wages and outsourcing. Concerns include minimum wage regression and mass layoffs due to the Job Creation Law, worsening the wage crisis.



INDONESIA: Thousands of workers are gearing up for a demonstration in Jakarta on International Labour Day tomorrow (1 May).

This mobilization extends beyond Jakarta, with workers set to surround several major cities across Indonesia.

President of the Labour Party and Confederation Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI), Said Iqbal, announced that more than 200 thousand individuals would participate in May Day protests nationwide, including in Jakarta, Bandung, Serang, Surabaya, Semarang, Batam, Makassar, Banjarmasin, Ternate, Mimika, and others.

In Jakarta, the focal point of the action will be the State Palace from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Following this, around 50 thousand participants will move from the Palace to Madya Senayan Stadium for the May Day Fiesta.

The main demands of May Day 2024 participants throughout Indonesia are the revocation of the Omnibus Law on Job Creation and the rejection of outsourcing and low wages, as outlined by Iqbal.

The rejection of the Omnibus Law is multifaceted, rooted in several key points.

Firstly, there are concerns surrounding the minimum wage, which is perceived as regressing to the concept of low wages.

Secondly, the perpetual nature of outsourcing, devoid of limitations on the types of work that can be outsourced, has sparked alarm among critics.

Iqbal, emphasizing the issue, stated, “That means the state is positioning itself as an outsourcing agent.”

Thirdly, the party has brought attention to recurring contracts, which can extend to as many as 100 renewals, despite a supposed five-year limit.

This practice contributes to job insecurity among workers.

Furthermore, the issue of cheap severance pay has been highlighted.

Previously, workers laid off could receive severance pay equivalent to twice their salary, but this has now been reduced to only 0.5 times, as noted by Iqbal.

Concerns persist regarding easier layoffs, with both the Labour Party and workers union organizations rejecting the ease of hiring and firing due to its adverse impact on job security.

Additionally, flexible working hour arrangements and leave policies have posed challenges, exacerbating the uncertainty in wages, especially for female workers in need of menstrual or maternity leave.

The inclusion of foreign workers in the law has also raised eyebrows, particularly with its stipulation of working first and handling administration later.

Job Creation Law sparks outsourcing surge, worsening low wage crisis in Indonesia

Regarding outsourcing, the implementation of the Job Creation Law has led to mass layoffs of permanent employees replaced by outsourced workers receiving lower wages, exacerbating the issue of low wages across Indonesia.

“The utilization of outsourcing and contractual arrangements is extensive across Indonesia,” he remarked.

Iqbal emphasized that the wage policy in Indonesia has shifted towards a low-wage approach, with wage increases consistently lagging behind inflation rates.

This has resulted in a decline in real wages and purchasing power for workers, despite overall economic growth.

“This low wage policy has led to a decline in real wages and the purchasing power of workers by 30-40%. Essentially, over the past five years, there has been a decrease in real wages, with no corresponding increase, despite an average economic growth rate of 5 percent,” he explained.

The stark disparity between economic growth and the stagnation of workers’ wages highlights the urgent need for action.

Therefore, the Labour Party and KSPI are advocating for HOSTUM: Eliminate Outsourcing, Reject Cheap Labour Practices on May Day 2024.

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