Labor rally in Jakarta demands wage increase, permanent cease-fire in Gaza

Media Indonesia – December 21, 2023
Workers march from Horse Statue to US Embassy in Central Jakarta – December 21, 2023 (CNN)

Workers held a protest action at the Horse Statue in Gambir, Central Jakarta, on Thursday December 21, in which they made three demands.

First, the workers demanded that the Omnibus Law on Job Creation (UU Cipta Karja) be revoked. This demand was made after the Constitutional Court (MK) rejected five judicial reviews of the law submitted by a number of trade union organisations.

"There are three agenda [items] that are being fought for and are fully supported by the Labour Party. The first is revoking the Omnibus Law on Job Creation", said Labour Party President Said Iqbal at the demonstration on Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat.

The second demand is that the protesting workers are asking governors throughout Indonesia to review the decision on setting the provincial minimum wage (UMP) for 2024.

This is because the minimum wage in each province has only risen slightly and is not enough to meet workers' needs.

"Third, stop the Israeli-Palestine war. Immediately implement a permanent ceasefire", said Iqbal.

"If these three demands are not met, it is certain that the next national strike will be joined by five million workers", he continued.

The protesters could be seen wearing black shirts and trousers. Some also wore orange coloured headbands.

During the demonstration, the workers chanted and sung the Labour Party's marching theme as they held up orange coloured Labour Party flags, Indonesian and Palestinian flags.

On Monday October 2, the Constitutional Court rejected five judicial reviews of the Jobs Law. Based on this ruling, the court declared that Law Number 6/2023, which was enacted based on Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) Number 2/2022 on the Job Creation Law, continues to have binding legal force.

The workers are therefore demanding that the Constitutional Court find in favour of the new judicial review that they have submitted.

There are nine points in the Jobs Law that are being challenged in the judicial review. "Low wages, lifelong outsourcing, lifelong contract employment (PKWT), because there's no [set] contract period, and it makes dismissals easy", said Iqbal.

The other points are related to the small size of severance pay and the lack of clarity on wages when women workers take menstrual or maternity leave.

Iqbal said he is optimistic that the Labour Party will win the judicial review. "We are certain because all of these articles conflict with previous MK rulings", he said.

As a consequence of the demonstration, traffic in the direction was closed off. As many as 840 police officers were deployed to monitor the labour protest at the Horse Statue. (Z-8)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Buruh Minta Gaji Naik dan Gencatan Senjata Palestina Israel".]