Rejecting fuel price hike, Bandung trade union demands 24% wage rise

CNN Indonesia – September 21, 2022
Labour rally against fuel price hike in front of Gedung Sate building in Bandung – Undated (CNN)

Bandung – Thousands of workers held a protest action against the recent fuel (BBM) price hike in front of the Gedung Sate building (governor's office) in the West Java (Jabar) provincial capital of Bandung on Wednesday September 21.

West Java Confederation of the All-Indonesian Workers Union (KSPSI) Regional Leadership Board Chairperson, Roy Jinto Ferianto, said that that today's action is conveying four points to the government.

"Today we are holding a protest action, there are four points we are making, the first is opposing the BBM price [increase] and second opposing the Job Creation Law", said Ferianto.

Third, the workers are asking for a wage increase of around 24 percent in 2023.

"We are asking the Jabar governor to revise the 2022 UMK [Municipal Minimum Wage]. Because the 2022 minimum wage hasn't gone up, and with the increase in BBM this has of course to be brought into line with wage rises so the fourth [point] is about raising the 2023 UMK", said Ferianto.

The protest action began at 11 am with a two kilometre long-march from the West Java People's Struggle Monument to the Gedung Sate building. The demonstration was marked by the display of paraphernalia and speeches made from the command vehicles.

Furthermore, continued Ferianto, the fuel price rise has had an impact on other sectors. "Of course it's illogical for wages not to go up if prices go up. And this will reduce the purchasing power of our worker colleagues", he cried.

Ferianto also revealed the reason for the request for a 24 percent wage rise.

"So, this 24 percent increase make a lot of sense because in our considerations we looked at [the price of subsidised] Pertalite [petro] which went from 7,600 rupiah [a litre] to 10,000 and this is an increase of 32.42 percent. Then the current price of Solar [diesel] rose 26.2 percent", he said.

"Meaning that if we ask for an increase of 24 percent this is an average figure to bring the BBM increase into line with the price of basic necessities. Because of this it is very reasonable for us to want to adjust [our wages this much]", explained Ferianto. (hyg/isn)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Demo Tolak BBM di Gedung Sate, Buruh Tuntut Kenaikan Upah".]