Labour rally says Omnibus Law will undermine wages, basic rights

Media Indonesia – January 9, 2020
Labour rally in Tanjung Priok against Omnibus Law – January 9, 2020 (MI)

At least 100 workers from the Jakarta Labour Movement (GBJ) held a rally in front of Post 9 in the North Jakarta port of Tanjung Priok on Thursday January 9.

The workers were opposing the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation which has now entered the final stage of deliberation.

According to the head of the Jakarta regional leadership Tobacco, Food and Beverage Trade Union Federation’s (FSP-RTMM) legal division, Ujang Romly, workers are concerned because under the draft Omnibus Law wages will be determined by the number of hours worked.

“If in effect if you only work two hours a day, then that’s what you’ll get. There’s nothing said about provincial minimum wages, provincial sectoral wages, regency or municipal [minimum wages], everything will be regulated according what employers like. And there won’t be any sanctions anymore for employers who pay less than the minimum wage”, said Romly in Tanjung Priok on Thursday January 9.

GBJ spokesperson Jumisih meanwhile emphasised that they are opposing the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation – which is being abbreviated as Cilaka – because it will make the relationship between works and employers very flexible.

“If it (the Cilaka) comes into effect, then labour systems will be even more flexible. Meaning it will be easy to hire [workers], easy to fire [workers]”, said Jumisih.

In addition to this, she also highlighted that the Cilaka will further restrict democratic space for workers. Yet, continued Jumisih, trade unions are a means for workers to struggle for their rights.

“Right now democratic space is being obstructed and there are many regulations which restrict space for the labour movement so it’s just the same as weakening the position of workers”, she said.

The GBJ also regrets that the government has not carried out any socialisation about the Cilaka law. Jumisih said that the government is intentionally not doing this.

“So that we won’t resist, and this is the government’s plan. We’re not surprised about this because it has been like this in the past. So it’s being done like it’s nothing at all, then all of a sudden it [the law] will be passed”, she said in conclusion.

The protest action was joined by participants from 14 trade unions. The workers came from various different sectors such as the food and beverage industry, land transportation, sea transportation, dock workers, warehouse workers and the pharmaceutical industry.

Similar actions are planned to be held on January 13 and 20. Both will be held in front of the House of Representatives (DPR) and People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) building in Jakarta. The number of protesters will be larger with an expected 1,000 participants. (Tri/OL-09)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Buruh Tolak RUU Omnibus Law Cipta Lapangan Kerja”.]