Agus Setyadi, Banda Aceh – Workers in Indonesia’s northern-most province of Aceh commemorated May Day with a convoy around the main streets of the capital Banda Aceh on Monday May 1. They also gave speeches in front of the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque and the Aceh Regional House of Representatives (DPRA).
The action began at around 9am where demonstrators from various parts of Aceh gathered in front of the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque and took turns in giving speeches before beginning the convoy.
A number of two- and four-wheeled vehicles and a truck were used for the convoy around the city where they conveyed their discontent. Several participants also brought megaphones.
The protesters were given a police escort which rode in front of the convoy on trail bikes. Upon arrival at the DPRA, they were directed to enter the grounds.
Aceh Labour Alliance (ABA) chairperson Saifulmar said that at this May Day rally Acehnese workers are calling on the government to increase the provincial minimum wage (UMP) by 650,000 rupiah. With such a rise, by 2018 the Aceh UMP would be 3,150,000 rupiah a month.
“Willing or not, like it or not, this is the workers’ demand”, Saiful[mar] told journalists during a break in the action.
In addition to this, Acehnese workers are also demanding that the government immediately issue a gubernatorial regulation (Pergub) to regulate Meugang Day bonuses. The Acehnese traditionally hold Meugang two days before the Ramadan holy fasting month.
“It’s already getting close to the fasting month. We really hope that the government will issues a Pergub on Meugang bonuses. This is the dream of all workers in Aceh”, explained Saiful.
During the action the workers also conveyed several other demands, both specific to Aceh and nationally. They also expressed hope that the provincial government would implement a new regulation providing six months maternal leave to pregnant workers in all government offices and companies.
“We also hope that the trading permits of “illegal companies” are immediately revoked because they bring suffering to workers”, said Saiful. (imk/imk)
[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski for the Indoleft news service. The original title of the report was “May Day, Buruh di Aceh Sampaikan Tuntutan Sambil Konvoi”.]