May Day rally in Bandung highlights contract labour, poor occupational safety

Tempo – May 1, 2024
Greater Bandung Labour Alliance May Day rally at Cikapayang Dago Park – May 1, 2024 (Tempo)

Muhammad Rafi Azhari, Jakarta – The Greater Bandung Labor Alliance (ABBR) held a demonstration to articulate their struggle on International Labour Day or May Day at the Cikapayang Dago Park in the West Java capital of Bandung.

ABBR media affairs manager Ajat Sudrajat said that the fate of daily contract workers is ignored by employers and the government.

"Many of them are easily laid off and their basic rights as workers are not fulfilled, so that accidents often occur during work and medical treatment is not covered by the company", Sudrajat said on Wednesday May 1.

Sudrajat cited a work accident case in Bandung where two telecommunications network company workers were killed while working in drains on Jalan Sangkuriang.

He asserted that work accidents could be prevented if employers provided adequate protection. Sudrajat highlighted the minimal sanctions for employers who violate the regulations on occupational health and safety. He added that there was no justice for work accident victims, especially for the families left behind.

"It's unfortunate why protection for occupational health and safety is not provided because the sanctions are very minimal. Then, there is also no justice for the victims, especially the families left behind by the family breadwinner", said Sudrajat.

Welcome May, the month of resistance

At today's action, the workers took up the theme "Welcome May, the month of resistance", as a form of resistance against various injustices.

Edeng Abdul Wahab from the Militant Trade Union Federation (F-SEBUMI) was one of those who testified about the impact of the Omnibus Law on Job Creation that is directly felt by workers. One of the problems that has arisen is the increase in layoffs by companies that are made easier by the law.

"Another topic that may be a problem is the problem of K3 occupational health and safety which is often ignored by companies and the Disnaker [Labour Office] as the party from the government", Wahab said.

A number of organisations took part in the demonstration as well as F-SEBUMI including the National Trade Union Confederation (KSN), Dago Resists (Dago Melawan) and other civil society groups.

On the issue of the Omnibus Law, said Wahab, it has made it easier for companies to do sack workers without regard to their rights. "Recruiting is difficult now, but layoffs are as easy as turning the palm of the hand", he said.

"When giving a speech earlier I didn't even dare mention the companies that have clearly committed repression against their employees. Even when we give speeches it's as if we're confronted with the ITE [Information and Electronic Transaction] Law and other defamation laws", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Unjuk Rasa Saat Hari Buruh Internasional di Bandung, Deretan Masalah Ini yang Disoroti".]