Thousands of workers in South Sumatra protest against Omnibus Law

Source – March 11, 2020
Workers protest against Omnibus Law in front of South Sumatra DPRD – March 11, 2020 (Bisnis)

Dinda Wulandari, Palembang – Thousands of workers from a number of different trade unions in South Sumatra held a protest action opposing the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation.

The demonstration, which was held on Wednesday March 11, was the second after a previous rally was also held by thousands of workers. The protesters rallied at the South Sumatra governor’s office and the South Sumatra Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) to convey their aspirations and demands related to the Omnibus Law.

Action coordinator Hermawan from the South Sumatra Confederation of the All-Indonesian Workers Union (KSPSI) said they believe there are several points in the draft law which will bring suffering to workers.

“We reject the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation because if it is passed into law then [workers] will become contracted coolies for the rest of their lives”, he said.

Hermawan said that the protest action was raising at least three demands for the South Sumatran governor and the DPRD.

The three demands are calling for the annulment of the articles on labour in the draft law, for legal protection and justice for local workers and asking the governor and the DPRD to support their struggle by also rejecting the Omnibus Law.

South Sumatra Cigarette, Tobacco, Food and Beverage Trade Union Federation (FSP RTMM) Secretary Nanang Setiawan said that they are concerned about the severance pay which will be received by workers if the draft law is enacted.

“Later severance pay will be only eight times the [monthly] wage, if this goes through what about the future of our pensions? We will continue fighting against the Draft Omnibus Law”, he said.

According to Setiawan, there 20,000 workers in South Sumatra working in the cigarette, tobacco, food and beverage sector. Around 10 percent of these or 2,000 workers who are members of the FSP RTMM took part in the protest against the Omnibus Law.

Meanwhile South Sumatra Labour and Transmigration Office Head, Koimuddin, said that they will accommodate the workers’ aspirations and coordinate to pass them on to the central government.

“This draft law is the authority of the DPR, [but] of course we will accommodate workers’ aspirations and covey them to the central [government]”, he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Omnibus Law: Ribuan Buruh di Sumsel Unjuk Rasa Tolak RUU Cipta Kerja”.]