Total workers laid off
reach over 200,000: Apindo

The wave of layoffs amidst the economic downturn has affected 237,500 workers nationwide between October and March, far exceeds government reports.

Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) chairperson Sofyan Wanandi said on Wednesday that Apindo has collected data from its branches in all regions and found that the actual total for job layoffs due to the impact of the global economic downturn was far higher than the government’s latest figure of  about 30,000 workers .

“Ever since chairing Apindo, we have never experienced receiving so many such reports as in these days. Almost everyday we receive consultation requests concerning workers layoffs,” Sofyan said on Wednesday.

As of the first week in March, Apindo recorded 100,000  workers being laid off in the textile and garment industry; 14,000 in the shoes sector; 40,000 in the automotive and spare parts industry; 30,000  in construction projects; 50,000 in palm oil plantations; and 3,500 in the pulp and paper industry.

Most of the workers currently being laid off are still either daily or outsourced workers rather than permanent staff.

“Only about five to ten percent of them are permanent workers,” Sofyan said, adding that most of the layoffs occurred between January and March this year.

Manpower and Transmigration Minister Erman Suparno announced on Feb. 28 that the number of permanent layoffs had reached  about 30,000 workers, with another 42,000 temporarily  laid off during the first (incomplete) quarter of  2009 due to the negative impacts of the global economic crisis.

Sofyan said the government’s data did not fully record the actual layoff statistics.  

“I suppose it only records the layoff of permanent workers. The government did not receive data on  daily and outsourced workers,” Sofyan  said.

Apindo urged the government to immediately disburse the already agreed  Rp 73 trillions (US$6,8 billion) stimulus package  needed to maintain the economy running amid the hard times to reduce layoffs.

“We urge the government not to wait until April to disburse the stimulus. The sooner the better,” Sofyan said.

Haryadi Sukamdani, an executive at Apindo, added that actually only Rp 12.5 trillion of the stimulus would go to the real sector.

“So, the real stimulus is not as big as what we think,” he said.

The head of Apindo’s Jakarta branch, Suprayitno, said that as of Feb. 28 in Jakarta alone the layoffs figure topped 35,000 workers.

“Of the figure, about 10,000 are from the automotive sector; 15,000 from construction projects; 5,000 from the electronics industry and the rest from other sectors,” Soeprayitno said.

Apindo urges regional administrations to help anticipate the effect of the global economic crisis.

“Regional administrations must scrap regulations that cause high economic costs,” Sofyan said.

On Wednesday, Apindo announced that the Supreme Court had ruled a verdict ordering the Jakarta Provincial Administration to scrap the Jakarta Governor Regulation NO. 82/2006.

The regulation ordered businessmen in the Jakarta to provide    workers with life insurance that  also covered activities outside of their working hours.

The verdict was in favor of Apindo which challenged the regulation in 2006.  According to Apindo, the regulation has created an overly high economic cost  for businessmen who already provide their workers with social insurance (Jamsostek).

“We welcome the verdict and we hope that this verdict will help to avoid the implementation of other regulations that burden business sectors,” Sofyan said.

He said similar regulations also existed in several other regions including in Serang, Tangerang, and Bogor regencies. Sofyan said Apindo expected they would also scrap such regulations.

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