Workers art performance builds May Day solidarity

Tempo Interactive – April 25, 2008
Taman Ismail Marzuki Arts Centre in Central Jakarta
Taman Ismail Marzuki Arts Centre in Central Jakarta

Aguslia Hidayah, Jakarta – Workers chose a unique way to socialise Labour Day which falls on May 1. Rather than holding a loud and noisy demonstration, this time round they took their protest to the stage. Through an event titled “A Day of Workers’ Art”, they held a musical performance at the Taman Ismail Marzuki Arts Centre in Central Jakarta on Wednesday April 23.

The event, which represents part of a series of events to commemorate May Day 2008, was entirely supported out of the pockets of workers from the Carrefour Indonesia Trade Union (SPCI) and the Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance (KASBI).

“The staging of this artistic event is to build a bond of solidarity and to unite the ranks to demand [labour policy] change”, said SPCI chairperson Abdul Rahman. The policy changes being called for are no different from those articulated by workers last year – the abolition of contract labour systems, an end to low wages, the revocation of Law Number 13/2003 on Labour and an end to mass dismissals.

The stage, the colour of which was identical to the red uniforms worn by SPCI members, was adorned in a simple style, with two brooms made from palm fronds serving as decorations at each corner of the stage.

Each of the workers from the different regions voluntarily stepped up onto the stage to perform. Some played solo guitar, some read poetry, while others played music.

[Translated by James