Acehnese trade unions mark May Day with marches, rally and prayers

Detik News – May 1, 2014
Workers commemorate May Day in Banda Aceh - May 1, 2014 (Yayasan Puleh Aceh)
Workers commemorate May Day in Banda Aceh - May 1, 2014 (Yayasan Puleh Aceh)

Agus Setyadi, Banda Aceh – A hundred or so workers in the Acehnese provincial capital of Banda Aceh held prayers on a main street for the close of demonstrations commemorating Labour Day in Aceh. The workers, who came from Acehnese trade unions, demanded welfare improvements and rejected low wages.

Prior to holding the action on Thursday May 1, hundreds of workers held a march from the Banda Aceh Grand Mosque towards the Simpang Lima traffic circle where they held a demonstration that began at 9.30am.

During the action, which was watched over by scores of police, they brought banners and flags of their respective trade unions. The workers, who came from various different companies took turns to convey their demands.

Action coordinator Habibi Insuen said that May Day, which is commemorated all over the world, is a historical milestone for the working class’ battle against oppression that occurs because of poor working conditions, welfare levels that are still minimal and the lack of social security for job injuries.

“The labour movement in order to obtain its rights is not a rebellion or against the owners of capital, rather it is a certainly that is obtained after obligations and responsibilities have been met”, said Insuen between speeches.

The workers, who came from several different trade unions, said Insuen, reject low wages and are calling for the Aceh provincial minimum wage (UMP) for 2015 to be increased by 30 percent, are calling on the government to promote honorary workers to become permanent state civil servants and for improvements to the welfare of health workers in Aceh.

In addition to this, they are also demanding that workers employed at state-owned enterprises be promoted to permanent employees and to be provided with the same pension guarantees as other workers. “Carry out deliberations and ratify a qanun (by-law) on labour that accommodates the interests of workers and employees in Aceh”, he said.

After demonstrating for around one hour, the workers stopped giving speeches and sat on the main road to hold prayers. The action ended at around 11am. (mok/mok)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service.]