Semarang – Hundreds for workers from the Indonesian Metal Trade Workers Federation (FSPMI) in the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang have blockaded the Java northern coast (pantura) road demanding that the Central Java governor agree to a 3 million rupiah a month minimum wage for workers.
The blockade began at 9.50am when scores of motorcycles and trucks carrying hundreds of workers arrived from a westerly direction and stopped on Jl. Siliwangi directly in front of the Semarang State court.
They then sounded their horns and began giving speeches. “We reject low wages. The governor must agree to a wage of 3 million rupiah”, said action coordinator Somad on Wednesday October 30.
As many as 178 police officers were on alert at the location and the end of the toll road to keep watch over the action. Almost the entire road was closed off although police controlled traffic so a small section could be opened for trucks to pass.
West Semarang sectoral police chief Police Commander Yani Permana said that they would give the workers time to give speeches on the pantura road rather then be uncompromising. “We will allow them to give speeches here first, what’s important is that cars can still pass through”, Permana said.
The workers plan to hold even bigger actions in front of the Semarang city hall, which will be followed by demonstrations at the Central Java governor’s office. Protesters from several different parts of Central Java will gather and demonstrate.
“We will gather at the Youth Monument to meet up with our comrades from the east, and then we will go to the city hall”, shouted Somad.
Although the demonstration only continued for around 20 minutes, the blockade of the pantura road created considerable traffic congestion with vehicles wanting to pass only having a narrow space to pass the crowd of workers giving speeches.
[Minta Upah Rp 3 Juta, Buruh Blokir Pantura di Semarang – DetikNews. Rabu, 30/10/2013. Translated by James Balowski.]