Labour rally in Jakarta threatens national strike if their demands are not met

Source – August 9, 2023
Workers march through Central Jakarta towards Horse Statue – August 9, 2023 (Kompas)

Jakarta – The Labour Party held a mass rally at the Arjuna Wijaya or Horse Statue in Central Jakarta on Wednesday August 9 involving four trade union confederations, 60 national labour federations, the Indonesian Farmers Union (SPI), the Urban Consortium, the National Network for Domestic Workers Advocacy (Jala PRT), migrant workers and women's organisations.

The workers echoed six demands during the protest action. They asked the government to revoke the Omnibus Law on Job Creation (Cipta Kerja), raise the minimum wage by 15 percent in 2024 and to reduce the presidential threshold required able to nominate a presidential candidate from 20 to 0 percent.

They also asked the government to remove the 4 percent parliamentary threshold needed to gain a seat in the House of Representatives (DPR), revoke the recently enacted Health Law, to realise life-long universal social welfare (JS3H), agrarian reform, food sovereignty and to enact the Draft Law on the Protection of Domestic Workers (RUU PPRT).

"These six issues are being taken up simultaneously and will continued to be campaigned for", Labour Party President Said Iqbal told journalists at the location.

If their demands are not heard or responded to, the Labour Party and labour organisations, as well as other working class groups are threatening to hold a national strike.

"We are preparing a national strike (namely) to stop, stop production by five million workers throughout Indonesia", he said. "[This will] involve 100,000 factories that will stop, likewise with sea and airport drivers", he added.

The workers continued giving speeches until 2.14 pm interspersed by singing nationalist songs such as Hello Hello Bandung.

Earlier, they held a long-march from the nearby Farmers Monument to the Horse Statue. Said Iqbal rode on the command vehicle in order to direct workers to the site of the protest action.

During the march they brought a large banner, flags and lit flares. The march created traffic congestion on the roads they passed through and police had to redirect traffic in the direction of the State Palace

The trade unions had earlier planned to hold the action at the State Palace and nearby Constitutional Court in Central Jakarta but both locations were cordoned off by police.

[Abridged translation by James Balowski based on two articles in by Xena Olivia and Rizky Syahrial. The original title of the lead article was "Massa Buruh Demo di Patung Kuda, Ini Enam Tuntutannya".]