Sherr Rinn – Around two hundred workers from the Solidarity Alliance for Labour Struggle (GSPB) held an action opposing the recently enacted law on regional elections (UU Pilkada) at the offices of the Bekasi regent’s office in the Jakarta satellite city of Bekasi on Tuesday October 14.
The protesters were calling on Regent Neneng Hasanah Yasin to join other regional heads in opposing the UU Pilkada, which abolished the direct election or regional heads.
“Through this action we want to see the Bekasi regent’s commitment to democracy, considering that she was elected through a direct election”, said one of the GSPB leaders Ata Bu.
The enactment of the UU Pilkada is part of a packet of political policies that are seeking to return Indonesia to the era of the New Order dictatorship of former president Suharto. Prabowo Subianto and his Red and White Coalition (KMP) were the ones most responsible for the enactment of the law.
In addition to this, the GSPB also demanded a 50 percent increase in the minimum wage in order to compensate for the rise in living costs over the last 17 years. They also rejected plans to abolish sectoral wages, demanded effective supervision by the labour office, the issuance of a regional regulation (Perda) to ensure the normative rights of workers and the establishment of an industrial relations court (PHI) in the Bekasi regency.
“The demands for welfare and democracy must be a single packet. The working class in fighting for its rights and interests clearly needs democratic space to assemble, mobilise themselves, including space for the working class to gather its forces in order to build its own political vehicle”, said GSPB general chairperson Sulaeman.
These things are principal reasons why the GSPB is fighting for democracy and workers’ welfare.
[Translated by James Balowski.]