Thousands of workers mark May Day with rally at East Java governor's office

Tribunnews – May 1, 2023
Workers hold posters of Said Iqbal and Mahfud MD at May Day rally in Surabaya – May 1, 2023 (Tribune)

Bobby Constantine Koloway (, Surabaya – Thousands of workers from a number of different trade unions in East Java (Jatim) held a protest action in front of the governor's office in the provincial capital of Surabaya on Monday May 1.

The workers raised a number of demands at the May Day or International Labour Day commemoration including abolishing the electoral threshold in the 2024 elections. They also brought various placards and posters containing their demands.

There were six demands raised by the workers including calling for the enactment of the Draft Law on the Protection of Domestic Workers (RUU PPRT), revoking the parliamentary threshold required to gain a seat in the People's House of Representatives (DPR), agrarian reform and food sovereignty and opposing the Draft Healthcare Law (RUU Kesehatan).

Then, they also called on the public to vote for a president that is pro-worker and demanded that Ministry of Labour Regulation (Permenaker) Number 5/2023 on Adjusting Working Hours and Wages for Certain Export Orientated Labour Intensive Industries Impacted Upon by Global Economic Changes be revoked, which allows workers' wages in these industries to be cut by as much as 25 percent.

The workers also brought posters with picture of Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) President Said Iqbal, who is also the president of the Labour Party. On the reddish-orange posters was the message "Said Iqbal Presidential Candidate Recommended by Jatim Executive Committee".

Not only were there posters of Iqbal, but the action participants also brought posters with pictures of Coordinating Minister for Politics, Security and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD. On these posters was written "Support Mahfud MD Eradicating the Corruptors who make it Difficult for the Indonesian people".

On other placards were messages asking the government to revoke laws regulating the parliamentary threshold that read "Revoke Laws Related to the 4 Percent Parliamentary Threshold". They held up the placards alongside others that read "Revoke Regulations Related to the Presidential Threshold, the Presidential Threshold Perpetuates the Oligarchy".

As of 3 pm the protesters were still giving speeches in front of the East Java provincial government offices on Jalan Pahlawan. Representatives of the demonstrators took turns in demanding that the government realise all of their demands.

As has been reported, the Labour Party claimed that on May 1 it would register a judicial review with the Constitutional Court related to the 4 percent parliamentary threshold.

This move is being taken based on the Labour Party's calculation of its chances in the 2024 legislative and presidential elections.

"In the simulation that was done, the Labour Party is convinced it will garner 30 seats, namely in 16 provinces and 29 electoral districts", said Iqbal in a statement on Friday April 21.

Nevertheless, out of these 30 seats, the number of votes garnered by the Labour Party is estimated to be only 4.5 million because it will only take the last two seats.

Therefore in the planned judicial review, the Labour Party is asking that the 4 percent parliamentary threshold be interpreted as 4 percent of the total number of seats in the DPR, namely 24 seats, not 4 percent of the total national valid vote.

"This is like the presidential threshold, which is interpreted as 25 percent of the valid national vote or 20 percent of the seats in the DPR", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Bawa Poster Said Iqbal dan Mahfud MD, Demo Buruh di Surabaya Juga Tuntut Hapuskan Threshold Pemilu".]