Labour leader criticises Prabowo for warning workers not ask for wage hikes

Liputan6 – November 9, 2023
Workers march against Omnibus Law on Job Creation in Jakarta – Undated (Liputan6)

Arief Rahman Hakim, Jakarta – Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) President Said Iqbal has responded to a statement by Onward Indonesia Coalition presidential candidate (capres) Prabowo Subianto on wage rises.

Iqbal believes that Prabowo's statement asking workers not to demand wage increases because the government guarantees workers' welfare is wrong.

According to Iqbal, who is also the president of the Labour Party, Prabowo does not understand the world of labour, and even gives the impression of not siding with the interests of workers.

He suspects that there are people around the Defense Minister and Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) chairperson who want to gain benefits from this.

"As input from the Labor Party and trade union organisations for capres Prabowo and other capres, the issue of wages and social security as well as job creation and abolishing outsourcing are mainstream issues among workers", said Iqbal in a press statement on Thursday November 9.

Therefore, he continued, if you misspeak and are wrong about workers' mainstream issues, the consequences will be fatal in terms of workers' support for a presidential candidate. This includes the rejection of the Omnibus Law on Job Creation by all workers.

Iqbal said that throughout the world, all trade unions in their respective countries are fighting to demand increases in minimum wages and periodic wage rises (wages for more than one year). Be it in America, Germany, England, Nordic countries, other European countries, Brazil, Peru, other American countries, Japan, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, other African countries, Russia, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world.

"Recently, Brazilian trade unions succeeded in convincing President Lula to increase the minimum wage by 13 percent, even though inflation is only 4 percent and economic growth is only 3.2 percent. In America, the UAW automotive workers trade union succeeded in convincing President Joe Biden to increase the wages of auto workers by 30 percent. In England, Germany, Italy and other European countries, workers have held massive demonstrations demanding an increase in the minimum wage and succeeded in getting increases of more than 20 percent", he explained.

Iqbal said that in the United States, when presidential elections take place, the issue of the minimum wages is one of the hottest issues for American presidential candidates. For example, when Barak Obama ran against Mitt Romney, in their campaigns they each conveyed different figures for annual minimum wage rises.

Likewise also in the presidential election campaign between Obama and John McCain, they also said that the minimum wage for American workers should increase every year.

"So capres Prabowo's views are incorrect and wrong that workers' demands to increase the minimum wage every year are unnecessary. This view is a wrong", he asserted.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Prabowo Minta Buruh Tak Tuntut Upah Naik, KSPI: Keliru!".]