Trade unions threaten to keep protesting against anti-worker Omnibus Law

Source – January 9, 2020
Workers rally against Omnibus Law in Jakarta – January 9, 2020 (Alinea)

Rizki Febianto – Cross-Factory Labour Federation (FBLP) Chairperson Jumisih says that workers from various different sectors will continue to hold demonstrations if the government is truly determined to push through the ratification of the Omnibus Law on Job Creation.

According to Jumisih, the demonstration by her trade union today, on Thursday January 9 at Post 9 in Tanjung Priok port in North Jakarta, is to express their opposition to the Omnibus Law.

Aside from labour representatives from the FBLP, also taking part in the rally were several other trade unions including the Confederation of United Indonesian Workers (KPBI) and the Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance (KASBI).

In their demands, they rejected the Draft Law on Job Creation (RUU Cilaka) which is part of the Omnibus Law because the articles on labour in the law are seen as simply preserving a flexible labour market and abolishing workers’ basic rights. The RUU Cilaka will also make it easier to dismiss (PHK) workers.

“The RUU uses the concept of ‘easy to recruit, easy to sack’. So it will be easy to PHK, young workers or new workers will be forced to be flexible without work guarantees making them easy to sack and will have the status of contract [workers] or outsourced [workers] for years and years”, said Jumisih, who is also the representative of the Jakarta Labour Movement (GBJ).

Not only that, they also highlighted discourse about abolishing criminal sanctions for employers who, for example, fail to pay their workers the minimum wage. According to Jumisih, the Omnibus Law will close off democratic space in society.

“This will close the people’s democratic space. So we won’t be able to do much when then (employers) violate [labour laws]. The principle enemy of the ordinary people and workers is actually legal regulations which obstruct the fight for prosperity”, said Jumisih.

“The drafting process has also been rushed, closed, and without listening to public opinion. So where’s the democracy in this”, asked Jumisih.

In addition to this, Jumisih explained that the government used the same argument of facilitating investments for proposed revisions to articles in the labour law, but this is something that is not directly proportional.

“An example is when PP (government regulation) 78/2015 on Wages was forced through, it has not had any significant impact on investment and workers’ wages have not improved. But, investors and employers are happy”, said Jumisih.

The government is in the process of drafting two Omnibus laws, namely the Draft Law on Tax Stipulations and Facilities to Strengthen the Economy and the Draft Law on Job Creation.

Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly said that the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation will be included in the House of Representatives (DPR) National Legislation Priority Program (Prolegnas) for 2020.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “ Buruh ancam terus demo tolak kebijakan Omnibus Law”.]