Trade union that backed Widodo’s presidential bid also oppose Omnibus Law

CNN Indonesia – March 11, 2020
Widodo gives greetings to KSBSI 7th Congress in Jakarta – May 4, 2019 (Antara)

Jakarta – Despite supporting President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in the 2014 and 2019 presidential elections, the Indonesian Confederation of Prosperity Labour Unions (KSBSI) opposes the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation.

KSBSI President Elly Rosita Silaban says that the draft law will harm workers and that the KSBSI has decided to take to the streets to reject it.

“We have supported Jokowi over two terms, but it doesn’t mean that because we support him he can’t be criticised. We must criticise policies which are made that don’t support workers”, said Silaban during a press conference at the Sari Pacific Hotel in Jakarta on Wednesday March 11.

According to Silaban, there are three reasons why the KSBSI is opposing the draft law. First, they believe that it conflicts with the mandate of Article 27 Paragraph 2 and Article 28D of the Constitution.

According to Silaban, the government is mandated to guarantee decent wages and the rights of all citizens as workers. This mandate is violated by the abolition of severance pay and minimum wages at the regency and municipal level.

Second, the draft law threatens the future of workers through new contract labour systems because it will remove restrictions on contract labour.

Third, the KSBSI believes that the drafting of the law violates existing legislation because workers were not involved in its formulation. The government only involved trade unions unilaterally after the draft was submitted to the House of Representatives (DPR) for deliberation.

“We felt trapped into legitimising it, as if trade unions support this draft law by our inclusion in the team [deliberating it], so that we would be preoccupied with that”, said Silaban.

Despite this, Silaban said that they still have hope in Widodo and are sure that the government will drop the Omnibus Law. Because of this therefore, she is inviting workers to hold protest actions on March 23.

“Regardless of who the country’s leaders are, of course they will make mistakes, but their supporters cannot be silent, cannot be passive if they know there is something wrong with decisions being made”, she said.

The government submitted the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation, which was proposed by Widodo during his second term in office, to the DPR on Wednesday February 12.

The law will cover 79 laws in order to slim down legislation. Widodo claims that it will attract foreign investors because it will make doing business easier.

The draft law has triggered protest from various social organisations, particularly trade unions. Trade unions which are part of the Indonesian Trade Union Council (MPBI) will hold protest action in 24 provinces on March 23.

[Abridged translation by James Balowski. The second part of the article which covered criticisms of the Omnibus Law by a legal expert were not translated. The original title of the article was “Serikat Buruh Pendukung Jokowi Tolak Omnibus Law Cipta Kerja”.]