Protesters call for women workers and farmers to organise

Tempo Interactive – March 6, 2008
National Student Front protest (Tribune)
National Student Front protest (Tribune)

Erick P. Hardi, Bandung – Scores of students and workers from the National Student Front (FMN) demonstrated in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung today to commemorate International Women’s Day which falls on Saturday March 8.

The protesters appealed to women workers and farmers to rise up and organise and to struggle to obtain their social, economic and political rights that have been denied them up until now. They also demanded that the government enact reasonable wage policies for workers, land reform for the ordinary people and increase subsidies for healthcare.

“We also demand that the government reduce the price of basic commodities right now”, said action coordinator Dewi at the West Java governor’s office at the Sate Building complex on Thursday March 6.

According to Dewi, more than 50 percent of women in Indonesia are poor farmers and workers who are still exploited by the pressures of feudal social systems. The majority of women workers only receive two thirds of the wage paid to male workers.

Dewi said that this concrete discrimination is reinforced by Ministry of Labour Regulation 4/1998, which states that women shall not receive healthcare benefits if their husband already receives an allowance. “Indonesian women are still relegated as second-class citizens politically and subordinated culturally”, she said.

[Translated by James Balowski.]