Bali workers commemorate May Day with call for decent wages, end to contract labour

Viva – May 1, 2024
Bali People's Struggle Alliance rally in front of Bali governor's office – May 1, 2024 (Viva)

Dedy Priatmojo, Bali – Commemorating International Labour Day, which falls every May 1, hundreds of protesters from the Balinese People's Struggle Alliance held a peaceful action in front of the Bali Governor's office with the theme "Sustainable tourism sustainable work".

The People's Struggle Alliance is made up of the Bali Independent Trade Union Federation (FSPM) along with student organisations and fishery workers from the Benoa Port, as well as the Bali Legal Aid Foundation (LBH).

The hundreds of demonstrators who gave speeches in front of the governor's office demanded that the government abolish the status of contract employees for workers in the tourism sector in Bali.

"Contract workers can be discarded at any time, if needed they're called in, if not needed they're laid off. This is a problem", explained FSPM regional secretary Made Rai Budi Darsana after giving a speech on Wednesday.

In speeches the protesters also demanded proper rights and wages for workers, particularly workers in the tourism sector. "This is most important because our theme today is sustainable tourism, so the work is also sustainable", he explained.

The status of a work relationship, said Made Rai, should be as a permanent worker. Not a casual worker. Not having an indefinite contract period.

"What is an indefinite time, so they can be contracted daily, it can be monthly. This is a problem. So what we want is their status to become permanent workers. So they have the right to think about the future", he explained.

In relation to wages, Made Rai revealed that annual increases in workers' wages are already determined by the state. So according to Made Rai, it is impossible for wages in Bali to increase by more than 4 percent.

"The governor himself does not have the authority to change this. Because it has already been determined from the centre. This is also a problem. Wages have risen by less than 4 percent while the necessities of life are big", he said.

According to Made Rai, the tourism sector in Bali is the principle economic sector for the island, but workers' income is still not seen as important or is still low.

"So I say this policy of determining wages must be abolished. [Or] it will not be possible for workers' wages in Bali rise by more than 4 percent. Because the amount is determined by the [central] government", said Made Rai.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Geruduk Kantor Gubernur Bali, Buruh Tuntut Karyawan Kontrak di Sektor Pariwisata Dihapus".]