House asks workers not to protest Omnibus Law, this is their response

Source – August 26, 2020
Labour rally in front of parliamentary complex in Senayan, Jakarta – August 25, 2020 (Antara)

Achmad Nasrudin Yahya, Jakarta – The Cross-Factory Labour Federation (FBLP) has spoken out in response to a request by House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker Puan Maharani who asked workers not hold demonstrations against the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation (RUU Cipta Kerja) because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

FBLP Chairperson Jumisih said that if the pandemic is the reason for not holding demonstrations then they are asking that the DPR also not deliberate the Omnibus Law if there is a healthcare crisis in the country.

“If [you] forbid workers to demonstrate because of Covid-19, then we forbid the DPR from deliberating the Omnibus Law and we ask that [the deliberations] be postponed because of Covid-19”, said Jumisih when contacted by on Wednesday August 26.

According to Jumisih, if the grounds for the request is because of Covid-19 then it very realistic that the DPR also not continue the deliberations on the law adding that Maharani’s statement is unbalanced bearing in mind that there are DPR members found to be Covid-19 positive.

She is asking that the DPR not make policies that only apply to the public but that they must also apply to the DPR because the Covid-19 pandemic does not discriminate between people.

“When making policies don’t just make them for the ordinary people, but they must also apply to themselves, this is important”, she asserted.

Conversely, Jumisih suspects that the request is an effort on the part of the DPR to smooth the way for the deliberations on the draft law. This is because since President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo sent the presidential letter to the DPR authorising the start of deliberations into the law, the DPR has constantly tried to take advantage of any opportunities that arise to pursue the deliberations.

“This is clearly imbalanced, so we also forbid the DPR from deliberating it (the Omnibus Law)”, said Jumisih.

Maharani recently asked workers not to hold demonstrations protesting the Omnibus Law because it could potentially disrupt the public’s comfort. She also said she is concerned that the gathering of crowds would create new Covid-19 clusters.

“The DPR is inviting labour groups which have aspirations to fight [against the Omnibus Law] not to do it through actions which could create traffic jams, potentially disrupt the comfort of other people and potentially become new Covid-19 clusters”, said Maharani in a written release on Tuesday August 25.

Maharani insisted that the deliberations on the Omnibus Law are being carried out carefully and transparently saying that the DPR is open to suggestions and public criticism on the draft law.

She also said that the DPR represents the home of the ordinary people and they always have an open door for labour groups to convey their concerns about the Omnibus Law.

“The parliament is open to accommodate all aspirations related to the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation”, she said noting that the DPR has formed a drafting team together with several trade unions to discuss the law.

Through a two day meeting on August 20-21, the team produced four points of agreement on labour related stipulations in the law.

“The DPR is the home of the ordinary people with an open door to labour groups to convey their aspirations in a legal and formal manner by registering problems related to the RUU Cipta Kerja”, she said.

“The DPR will continue the deliberations on the RUU Cipta Kerja thoroughly, carefully, transparently, openly and prioritise the continuity of the national interest”, said Maharani.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “DPR Minta Buruh Tak Demo RUU Cipta Kerja, Ini Tanggapan Serikat Buruh”.]