Rofiqi Hasan, Denpasar – Hundreds of workers, students and journalists in Bali commemorated International Labour Day at the Bajra Sandhi Monument in the provincial capital of Denpasar, where they called for wage increases, the abolition of contract labour and guarantees of the freedom to associate.
The protesters, who were organised by the People’s Alliance for Democracy and Human Rights (Ardham), held a long-march from the Alliance of Independent Journalist’s (AJI) offices to the monument. During the march they handed out leaflets and carried posters with messages such as “Oppose Neoliberalism, Defend Workers”, “Journalists are Also Workers” and “Stop Mass Dismissals”.
In a speech, action coordinator Samsul Arifin said that workers’ lives had not improved since reformasi. “Moreover it has become progressively worse because the government only defends the interests of employers”, he said. Arifin added that many companies ignore the maximum eight hour working day, prohibit workers from organising and employ contract labour.
Miftahuddin Halim from AJI Denpasar said that journalists are also workers. “Now days journalists are paid very low wages and have to work very hard”, he said. Halim added that journalists tend to be employed by media owners simply to make profit for business without heeding social problems.
[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski.]