10,000 workers protest in Surabaya for minimum wage increase

Tempo – October 31, 2013
FSPMI, Aspek and KSPI workers rally for higher wages in Surabaya - October 31, 2013 (Republika)
FSPMI, Aspek and KSPI workers rally for higher wages in Surabaya - October 31, 2013 (Republika)

Agita Sukma Listyanti, Surabaya – Protesting workers are threatening to occupy the East Java governor’s office in the provincial capital of Surabaya if their demands for a regional and municipal minimum wage (UMK) of 3 million rupiah a month are not met, saying that for workers this amount is non-negotiable.

East Java Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) deputy secretary Jamaludin (Jamal) said that in accordance with an instruction from the KSPI national office, workers will occupy all governors’ offices in Indonesia between October 31 and November 1. “We will occupy the governor’s office until the demand for 3 million is met”, said Jamal on Thursday.

According to Jamal, workers are insisting that three demands be met, namely the annulment of Presidential Instruction Number 9/2013 and an increase in the regency and municipal minimum wage to 3 million rupiah, an end to contract labour or outsourcing and revisions to the reasonable living cost index (KHL) increasing the number of components from 60 to 84.

Around 10,000 workers from Surabaya, Sidoarjo, Gresik, Pasuruan and Mojokerto have packed Jl. Governor Suryo in front of the governor’s office. They have blockaded the road by sitting and giving speeches and playing dangdut music (a popular music with strong Hindu type musical beat). Hundreds of police are on guard in the vicinity of the governor’s office.

Meanwhile around 30 worker representatives from 30 different trade unions have met with East Java Governor Soekarwo, East Java Provincial Government 3rd Assistant Edi Purwinarto, the East Java regional police chief and the V/Brawijaya regional military commander to discuss the three demands and the delivery of a formula for a minimum wage plus-plus.

Soekarwo said that the regional government had set a formula for the 2014 UMK plus-plus. The formula is made up of the current UMK of 1.7 million rupiah a month plus inflation plus economic growth that will then be adjusted to the conditions in each regency and municipality.

[Buruh Jawa Timur Tuntut Upah Rp 3 Juta – Tempo.co. Oktober 31, 2013. Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski.]