Thousands of Batam workers demand wage increase

Source – December 4, 2004
Labour demonstration in Batam (Batam News)
Labour demonstration in Batam (Batam News)

Chaidir Anwar Tanjung, Pekanbaru – On Saturday November 4, more than 5000 workers from the Indonesian Workers Metal Federation (Federasi Buruh Metal Indonesia, FBMI) went on strike demanding that the government of Riau province revise the minimum regional wage level.

The demonstrators, who originated from three industrial zone in Batam, had been demonstrating at the Riau governor’s office on Jalan Sudirman in Pekanbaru since 10am.

Earlier, the Riau government had set the minimum regional wage for Batam at 635,000 rupiah per month. The workers were calling on the governor, Ismet Abdullah, who is also the head of the Batam Authority to review the decision.

The workers were received by the head of the Riau provincial labour department, Azwar Taufik. “The governor is not here at the moment, but I am certain that the governor will be prepared to reconsider the decision”, said Taufik.

Because the Riau provincial minimum wage is inadequate, workers believe that the provincial government is siding with business rather than thinking about the welfare of workers. In fact a number of industrial zones in Batam are the property of foreign investors.

As a result of the action the roads leading towards the office of the mayor, governor and the international ferry terminal were close for four hours. (dit)

[Translated by James Balowski.]