Workers Challenge Alliance threatens to hold national strike

Source – September 10, 2006
Workers Challenge Alliance rally in Central Jakarta (Tempo)
Workers Challenge Alliance rally in Central Jakarta (Tempo)

Jakarta – The Workers Challenge Alliance (ABM) is threatening to hold a national strike if the government fails to increase the national wage and abolish systems of contract labour and outsourcing.

The threat was made by ABM coordinator Anwar Ma’ruf in a speech during a demonstration in front of the State Place on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara in Central Jakarta on Sunday September 10.

Hundreds of workers have been demonstrating in front of the Palace since 2pm after earlier holding a protest at the Hotel Indonesia (HI) roundabout. The action was watched over by around three companies of police from the Metro Jaya regional police and the Central Jakarta district police.

In a speech, Ma’ruf said that ABM is calling on the government to immediately set a standard and suitable national wage before making any revisions to the labour law and voiced the ABM’s opposition labour contract systems and outsourcing.

The protesters also expressed their disappointment with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s (SBY) State of the Nation address on August 16, which they said gave the green light to foreign capital to intervene in Indonesia without taking into account the interests of ordinary Indonesian people. “As a result cheap wages are still being paid under the contract labour system and outsourcing”, said Ma’ruf.

In addition to this the ABM is also urging the government to cancel the foreign debt. “If SBY and [Vice President Jusuf] Kalla do not respond to [our demands] with regard to a suitable national wage, contract labour systems and outsourcing we will hold a national strike as [took place] not long ago. The earlier [demonstrations] were only a warning”, he asserted.

After listening to speeches from several regional worker representatives, at 3.45pm the protesters disbanded. Prior to this during the march from HI, the workers had also distributed leaflets to passers by. (san/djo)

[Translated by James Balowski.]