Government accused of creating ‘new pandemic’ with Omnibus Law

CNN Indonesia – July 16, 2020
Workers protest action against Omnibus Law in Yogyakarta – July 16, 2020 (CNN)

Yogyakarta – Protesting workers in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta held an action on Thursday July 16 opposing the House of Representatives’ (DPR) deliberations on the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation. They also called on Yogyakarta Governor Sultan Hamengkubowono X to send a letter to the DPR.

The demonstrators from the Indonesian Trade Union Council (MPBI) – an alliance of trade unions in Yogyakarta – began the action with a parade (long-march) from the Tugu area just north of the city centre to the Yogyakarta Regional House of Representatives (DPRD DIY) then on to the Yogyakarta Loyalty Complex.

During the rally in front of the DPRD DIY, none of the people’s representatives came out to meet with the workers as they were giving speeches. One of the speakers from the Yogyakarta Labour Alliance (ABY) said that the DPRD DIY does not side with workers because none of the legislated wanted to meet with them.

“This is evidence that legislators don’t side with the wishes of workers in DIY who reject the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation”, they shouted.

Following the speeches, they moved off towards the Loyalty Complex. In a speech there, a member of the Yogyakarta Tripartite Cooperation Body (LKS Tripartit), Kirnadi, said that workers themselves are facing a new problem in the midst of wrestling against the corona virus pandemic  (Covid-19).

“The central government is trying to create a new pandemic in Indonesia, namely the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation”, said Kirnadi adding that the draft law poses a serious threat to workers, including workers in Yogyakarta.

Aside from the formulation of the law – which did not involve workers – the draft law will impoverish workers because it will make it easier to sack employees, abolish time limits on contract labour and trigger a mushrooming of outsourcing.

These threats, he said, will have a long term impact on workers as a whole when the DPR ratifies it into law.

The workers therefore are urging Sultan Hamengkubowono X to draft a letter to the DPR conveying workers opposition to the articles on labour in the law so that the Yogyakarta regional government’s position is clear.

In response to the call, Yogyakarta Labour, Transmigration and Social Affairs Office (Disnakertrans DIY) acting head Sumadi claimed that the Yogyakarta government has already conveyed the workers’ wishes to the central government and through the sultan’s eldest daughter Gusti Kanjeng Ratu (GKR) Hemas as the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) member for Yogyakarta.

“We have already conveyed the weak aspects of the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation”, he asserted.

Sumadi furthermore promised to convey these demands directly to members of the DPR who are scheduled to meet soon with the Yogyakarta sultan at the Loyalty Complex.

Aside from Yogyakarta, protest actions against the Omnibus law also took place in several other cities. In the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya thousands of protesters from the Movement Alliance Against the Omnibus Law (Getol) rallied at three points in the city – beginning with a long-march – namely the Waru Airport, the Surabaya Zoo (KBS) and the Heroes Monument (Tugu Pahlawan).

“We chose three gathering points, the Waru Airport, the KBS and the Tugu Pahlawan. We will hold a Waru-KBS-Tugu Pahlawan long-march”, said Getol spokesperson Habibus Shalihin.

Protests against the Omnibus Law also took place in front of the DPR parliamentary complex in Jakarta. The action was organised by workers from the Untied People’s Movement (Gebrak) and the National Association of University Student Executive Bodies (BEM SI).

The anti-Omnibus Law protest coincided with an action protesting the Draft Pancasila Ideology Guidance Law (RUU HIP) by the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) National Anti-Communist Alliance (ANAK). Police maintained a separation between the two different groups. (tri/kid)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Buruh DIY Desak Sultan Surati DPR Tolak Omnibus Law Ciptaker”.]