Trade unions threaten mass protest over public housing scheme wage deductions

CNN Indonesia – May 30, 2024
KSPSI President Andi Gani Nena Wea – Undated (CNN)

Jakarta – The Confederation of the All-Indonesian Workers Union (KSPSI) will be sending a letter of protest to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on changes to the Public Hosing Savings Program (Tapera).

"In the short term we will submit a letter of protest with the government. Tomorrow we will send it to the president personally", KSPSI President Andi Gani Nena Wea was quoted as saying on the CNN Indonesia TV program on Wednesday May 29.

Andi Gani stated that the KSPSI explicitly rejects the new policy because it is seen as burdening workers.

He believes the aims of the Tapera policy is good, so that workers can own a home, but the good intentions are being carried out by means that are incorrect.

"But the method is wrong, let workers choose whether to take part or not", he said.

Earlier, the Labour Party and the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) declared that they are preparing a huge mass protest to reject the Tapera program.

KSPI President Said Iqbal believes that the implementation of Tapera by the Widodo administration is not appropriate at the moment because it will only burden workers and the ordinary people.

"The Labor Party and the KSPI are preparing a massive action to reject Tapera, the Omnibus Law on Job Creation and the KRIS [Standard Inpatient Class] program in health insurance, all of which burden the ordinary people", said Iqbal in a statement on Tuesday May 29.

The KSPSI and the KSPI are known as two labour organisations that have quite often meet with President Widodo at the Palace. For example in 2019, when Andi Gani and Said Iqbal both met Widodo at the Bogor Palace in West Java.

Or in April 2020 ahead of major May Day actions with the main theme of rejecting the Omnibus Law on Job Creation, when the two of them along with other labour organisation leaders fulfilled Widodo invitation to come to the Palace in Jakarta.

Also in April 2021 when Andi Gani went to the Palace in the midst of a heated cabinet reshuffle. And in 2022, ahead of the 2024 presidential election, Andi Gani was also known as the chairperson of the People Consultative Steering Council (Musra) organised by a Widodo volunteer group.

Wave of critics over obligatory contributions

The current wave of criticism has become widespread following the mandatory Tapera contribution policy stipulated in Government Regulation (PP) Number 21/2024 on Amendments to PP Number 25/2020 on the Implementation of Tapera.

The new rules stipulate that compulsory Tapera contribution participants are not just state civil servants (PNS or ASN), Indonesian military (TNI) and National Police (Polri) members as well as state-owned enterprise (BUMN) employees, but now include private employees and other workers who receive a salary or wage.

The obligatory contributions are set at 3 percent, of which 2.5 percent comes from or is given by employees and 0.5 percent is contributed by employers. (mnf/kid)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "KSPSI Bakal Kirim Surat Keberatan ke Jokowi Buntut Masalah Tapera".]