Amid anti-government protests, trade union elite pledge support for Jokowi

CNN Indonesia – September 30, 2019
Widodo and KSPI President Said Iqbal at State Palace – September 30, 2019 (CNN)
Widodo and KSPI President Said Iqbal at State Palace – September 30, 2019 (CNN)

Jakarta – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo met with Confederation of the All-Indonesian Workers Union (KSPSI) President Andi Gani Nena Wea and Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) President Said Iqbal at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java, on Monday September 30.

Widodo said that his discussions with Wea and Iqbal were about the investment climate and labour issues.

“It was a long discussion, in essence we spoke about how we can build a good and quality investment climate with workers. Those two things. The investment climate and labour issues”, said Widodo following the meeting.

Wea said that during the discussion they also talked about planned revisions to Law Number 13/2003 on Labour and the formation of a team to review Government Regulation Number 78/2015 on Wages.

In addition to this, said Wea, they also asked the government to review the recent hike in Social Security Management Agency (BPJS) Healthcare Class III contributions saying that the increase has impacted upon the lives of workers and the little people.

Wea however said that the most important thing for himself and Said Iqbal was fully supporting Widodo. He also warned that no parties should try to disrupt Widodo’s leadership by unconstitutional means.

“What’s important is that we as the presidents of the two largest labour confederations affirm our full support for Pak [Mr] Jokowi”, he said.

“So we declare our position, affirming our support for Bapak Jokowi, and that there are no unconstitutional activities, especially unconstitutional actions, particularly those which seek to thwart the inauguration of the president”, said Wea.

Iqbal meanwhile declared that they reject the planned revisions to the 2003 Labour Law which will harm workers and called in Widodo’s pledge to revise the 2015 Wage Law. In addition to this, Iqbal asked the government not to raise BPJS Healthcare Class III contributions.

“We propose and suggest that you to reconsider raising the Class III contributions”, he said.

According to Iqbal, the labour movement that has emerged over the last few days is still pursuing constitutional channels. He also hopes that all elements who are conveying their aspirations will avoid violence and damages to other parties.

“Because we want the October 20 presidential inauguration to produce a legitimate administration, which can pursue the mandate of the people”, he said.

“Workers are a part of the people, they have an interest in conveying to the Bapak President several ideas and ensuring that the government carries this out constitutionally and peacefully”, continued Iqbal. (fra/wis)


Although Andi Gani Nena Wea and the KSPSI have supported Widodo since his first presidential bid in 2014, up until the last few months Said Iqbal and the KSPI have consistently backed Widodo’s rival and presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto, who lost the election to Widodo in April. Iqbal switched sides soon after Prabowo’s loss was confirmed by the Supreme Court amid rumors that he would be given the position of Labour Minister in Widodo’s next cabinet (which Prabowo also offered him should he win the election).

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Bertemu di Istana, Pimpinan Serikat Buruh Dukung Penuh Jokowi”.]