United Opposition Front calls for national strike on May 1

Fpdra.com – April 18, 2004
KASBI workers call for wage increase (Reporter Jabar)
KASBI workers call for wage increase (Reporter Jabar)

M Ilham, Jakarta – The United Opposition Front (Barisan Oposisi Bersatu, BOB) and the Indonesian Trade Union Action Committee (Komite Aksi Serikat Buruh Indonesia, KASBI) are calling for a national strike on May 1 to coincide with May Day. According to Anwar M. from KASBI, the action is not just a routine commemoration of May Day but represents a form of resistance by workers against government policies which do not support the interests of workers.

Dita Indah Sari from BOB said that the May 1 actions would be used by workers to articulate their position on the results of the 2004 general elections which workers do not believe will result in changes to the government’s policies on labour. Sari said that the May 1 action will be followed by a national strike in all factories and state owned industries. It is also hoped that as an act of solidarity, the Indonesian public will cease all activities on the day.

Sari and Anwar estimate that the May 1 action will be joined by thousands of people who will converge on Jakarta while in other parts of the country they will gather in their respective cities. The May 1 actions will not only be demanding improvements to people’s welfare but must also be seen as a form of political resistance by workers.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the People’s Democratic Party, Yusuf Lakaseng, said that the May 1 action must become a turning point for the unification of workers to take power away out of the hands of the bourgeoisie who oppress workers and farmers in Indonesia.

[Translated by James Balowski.]