Syahrul Ansyari, Foe Peace Simbolon – In the lead up to the commemoration of International Labour Day 2015 or May Day, the Indonesian Labour Movement (GBI), which is made up of the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI), the Confederation of the All-Indonesian Workers Union (KSPSI), the Confederation of Prosperity Labour Unions (KSBSI), the Indonesian Multi-Sector Trade Union Federation (FSPASI) and other people’s organisations, has agreed to form a political party.
Ilham Syah, a representative from the Indonesian Labour Union Confederation Preparatory Committee (KP-KPBI), said that this year’s May Day in Indonesia would be different. This year workers will not just be campaigning around normative labour issues but this year’s May Day will be raising working class political consciousness.
“Enough already, you the workers and the ordinary people continue to be lied to by the political elite that are currently in power”, said Syah at a press conference themed “Workers unite with the people to build their own political party” at the Sofyan Hotel on Jl. Cut Mutia in Cikini, Central Jakarta, on Thursday April 22.
KSPSI president Andi Gani added that workers represent the majority of the people who should have a determining power over all policies that are enacted by the regime of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla (Jokowi-JK).
The fact is however, that workers have simply been turned into objects by those in power. “This cannot be delayed any longer, workers and the ordinary people who are fighting must have their own political vehicle”, said Gani.
At this year’s International Labour Day, workers will be calling on the Jokowi-JK administration to seriously implement the Constitution and the mandate of the 1998 reformasi movement. They feel that the government has no clear commitment to improve the welfare of the Indonesian people.
“If the government wants to restore Indonesia’s national sovereignty, then the administration led by President Jokowi and JK must end the process of liberalisation that it currently taking place in all sectors, particularly the labour sector”. (mus)
The Indonesian Metal Trade Workers Federation (FSPMI), which is one of the most active trade unions affiliated with the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI), supported former New Order general Prabowo Subianto during the July 2014 presidential election. According media reports, FSPMI president Said Iqbal was promised the position of labour minister in a Prabowo government in return for his endorsement. It has also been reported that the KSPI has invited musician Ahmad Dhani, who sparked outrage last year for making a pro-Prabowo music video with strong Nazi overtones, to perform at this year’s May Day Fiesta. Left-wing labour activist have therefore expressed concern over any labour unity project initiated by these trade unions due to their continuing support of Prabowo.
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was “Organisasi Buruh Akan Mendirikan Partai Politik”.]