Padang – Protesters from the Labour Party went to the North Sumatra governor's office and the North Sumatra Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) on Monday May 1 to commemorate International Labour Day (May Day).
During the action the demonstrators conveyed a number of demands, one of which was opposition to Law Number 6/2023 on the Job Creation Law (Cipta Kerja) which they said is impoverishing workers.
"To this day, workers' lives are still not prosperous. But since the Cipta Kerja Law was enacted workers have become even poorer. Because many workers lack normative rights, covering the right to [decent] wages, severance pay, working hours, job status, social welfare and so forth, so it has instead further impoverished workers", said North Sumatra Labour Party Chairperson Willy Agus Utomo in a speech.
According to Utomo, the Job Creation Law was actually enacted by those in power simply to benefit employers. Workers' rights have been arbitrarily taken away by the government and the people's representatives for the benefit of employers.
"Why are workers taking to the streets? The answer is because workers rights have been arbitrarily taken away by the central government and the people's representatives, so we emphasise that we will continue to take to the streets to defend the rights of workers and the ordinary people", asserted Utomo.
North Sumatra Labour Office head Abdul Haris Lubis responded personally to the action and pledged to convey the workers' demands to North Sumatra Governor Edy Rahmayadi.
"For the demands on the central [government] we will convey them later. Meanwhile for the demands on the local [government] we will adopt policies specific to labour cases and will complete these as quickly as possible", said Lubis.
Workers in Padang, West Sumatra, also articulated their opposition to the Job Creation Law. One of the speakers, Riki Hendra Mulia, said that the Jobs Law only benefits capitalists and because of this workers oppose it.
"We reject the Omnibus Law that only supports capitalists. Commemorating May Day is a form of the world's workers opposing capitalism itself", he added.
In the South Sulawesi (Sulsel) capital of Makassar, protesters called on the pubic not to vote for a presidential candidate in 2024 that ignores the welfare and rights of the working class, particularly working women.
"Therefore, I invite people in Sulsel, not to vote for leaders who do not protect the interests of women workers", said Anging Mammiri Community Trade Union Executive Board Chairperson Suryani on Monday.
The action was dominated by women workers who held a theatrical action while sleeping on the road.
Suryani said that they recorded as many as 6,000 workers from South Sulawesi who were deported on mass during the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia.
Then between 2022 and April 2023, said Suryani, they also dealt with as many as eight cases of women migrant workers who were victims of human trafficking and two people who died in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.
On International Labour Day, Suryani said that they are calling for Law Number 2/2022 on Job Creation (Ciptaker) to be revoked immediately and an end to arbitrary dismissals.
"There are eight demands that we are conveying on this May Day, including related to the condition of women workers in Sulsel and also we are demanding that the Ciptaker Law to be revoked", said Suryani. (fnr/mir/bmw)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Pekik Pekerja saat May Day: UU Cipta Kerja Buat Buruh Makin Miskin".]