Peak trade unions plan to revive Labour Party to contest 2024 elections

CNN Indonesia – October 2, 2021
Workers march along Jalan Merdeka Barat in Central Jakarta – Undated (CNN)

Jakarta – A number of organisations and trade unions plan to revive the Labour Party in order to contest the 2024 legislative and presidential elections. In a circular which has already been confirmed, at least six trade unions will come together to establish the Labour Party.

The six trade unions are the Indonesian Confederation of Prosperity Labour Unions (KSBSI), the Indonesia Labour House-Indonesian Metal Trade Workers Federation (KSPI), the Indonesia People's Organisation-Confederation of the All-Indonesian Workers Union (KSPSI), the Confederation of United Indonesian Workers (KPBI), the Indonesia Labour House-Chemical, Energy and Mining Labour Solidarity Forum (FSP KEP) and the Indonesia Labour House-Health and Pharmaceutical Trade Union Federation (FSP FARKES).

In addition to this the leaders of the old Labour Party, the Indonesian Farmers Union (SPI), the Indonesian Private Sector Honorary Teachers and Educators Forum (FPTHSI) and the Indonesian Women's Movement (GPI) will also be founders of the new party.

KSPI President Said Iqbal said that the plan to revive the Labour Party is because the voices of workers have never been accommodated in parliament.

"The voices of workers, farmers and fisherpeople along with the labour party constituency must be given the same opportunities to be articulated through the parliament", he said when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Saturday October 2.

In other countries, labour parties are one of the important axis in government, said Said, adding that Indonesia is the only county that does not have a labour party.

Based on this, he said, various groups from trade unions, farmers, fisherpeople and honorary teachers organisations have come together to revive the Labour Party.

"All of the policies related to welfare are of course decided politically. Because of this there is a need for a party which politically represents workers, farmers and their constituency in parliament through a political party", he said.

Said explained that the establishment of the new Labour Party was initiated by the four biggest trade unions in Indonesia and 50 trade union federations at the national level.

In addition to this there is also the biggest farmers' trade union in Indonesia, namely the SPI, as well as the FPTHSI and several other social movement organisations.

Said claims that the new Labour Party already has a management board at the national level as well as management boards in 100 percent of provinces and 80 percent of regencies and municipalities.

"At the sub-district level meanwhile it's only 35 percent, still 15 percent short of the requirement to be verified by the KPU [General Elections Commission]. And we already have 1,000 members spread across 403 regencies and municipalities", he said.

Said said that a congress to revive the Labour Party will be held on October 4-5 in Jakarta. "The old Labour Party will be revived and the new Labour Party will be ready to take part in the 2024 elections", he said in conclusion.

The National Labour Party itself was established in 1998 and led by labour activists Muchtar Pakpahan, who died on March 21 this year.

Unfortunately the effort was unable to attract sufficient support and the party never gained any seats in parliament and was eventually disbanded. (sur)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Partai Buruh Akan Dihidupkan Lagi untuk Pemilu 2024".]