Labour rally in Jakarta says labour law ‘reforms’ will further burden workers

CNN Indonesia – August 23, 2019
Labour rally in Jakarta against labour law revisions – August 16, 2019 (Tirto)
Labour rally in Jakarta against labour law revisions – August 16, 2019 (Tirto)

Jakarta – Protesters from the United People’s Struggle (KPR) say that the planned revisions to Law Number 13/2003 on Labour will further burden workers in Indonesia because it will introduce greater flexibility to employment status and wages.

Speaking at a demonstration in front of the parliamentary building in Senayan, South Jakarta, KPR action coordinator Abet Faedhatul said that the existing 2003 labour law is already very flexible and is designed to benefit employers.

“The labour law is already very flexible and has benefited employers for over a decade. These controversial revisions to the labour law will further burden Indonesian workers”, explained Faedhatul on Thursday August 22.

Faedhatul believes that the government’s attempts to revise the labour law need to be understood in the context of the influence of the international economic and political situation where there is an evil collusion between national political forces and imperialist institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the provider of loans to developing countries and the World Trade Organization (WTO) as an institution which makes international trade agreements.

It is through these two institutions, he continued, that capitalism influences state policy to exploit, plunder and to oppress the ordinary Indonesian people.

Thursday’s rally by hundreds of protesters from the KPR was a follow up to an earlier one on Friday August 16 which was forcibly broken up by police.

Also present during the action were scores of students from the Indonesian Student Union (SMI) and the Indonesian Student Front (BMI).

SMI General Chairperson Ade Irawan stated that it is appropriate for the student movement to support the workers’ struggle against revisions to the labour law because problems related to labour will be a problem for students in the future.

KPR Chairperson Herman Abdulrohman meanwhile stated that the current labour law already fails to side with workers in Indonesia and his group will continue fighting labour laws that exploit the working class.

Earlier, Labour Minister Hanif Dhakiri said that he would discuss the planned revisions to the labour law with all related parties.

This was in response to efforts by the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) which have been giving input to President Joko Widodo on the labour law.

“In general we want to raise and improve the labour ecosystem in Indonesia so investment can grow in order to promote the creation of better job opportunities”, explained Dhakiri on Thursday July 13. (mts/arh)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Revisi UU Ketenagakerjaan Dinilai Makin Beratkan Buruh”.]