Jakarta

APINDO urges police to
muscle up ahead of possible
big strike

The Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) chairman Sofjan Wanandi said on Thursday that the association expected the police to prevent a possible labor strike from turning into riot.

“Indonesia's economy is growing. If the strike turned into a riot, we would lose our investors and the country could once again be trapped in crisis,” Sofjan said in a meeting in Jakarta Police headquarters to discuss security measures for the possible strike.

Around two million workers in several locations in Indonesia – including Jakarta, Bogor, Tangerang, Bekasi, and Karawang -- plan to strike on Sept. 25 to Oct. 15 demanding the abolition of outsourcing, a minimum wage increase and health insurance.

Action Committee for Social Security (KAJS) secretary general Said Iqbal has previously insisted that the strike would be annulled if the three demands were fulfilled.

Sofjan said that the association did not prohibit its workers from joining the strike.

“We wish to remind them to think [about the strike] wisely and not resort to violence,” he said.

Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Untung S. Rajab said that when the police were not involved in talks between the government, association and workers unions they always ended up as the scapegoat when riots happened.

Untung said that the police had to be well-informed to carry out preventive and preemptive tasks.

As for the workers' demands, Untung urged Apindo to settle the matter through discussion and prevent the strike.

Sofjan said that the association would endeavor to find a solution through tripartite negotiation, adding that the association “has various members ranging from small to big ventures and not every one of them can meet the demands”.

In January, tens of thousands of workers in Bekasi and Tangerang blocked roads connecting neighboring regencies to the capital, causing severe traffic congestion.

Workers asked the association to withdraw the lawsuit it filed in the Bandung State Administrative Court (PTUN), challenging West Java and Banten administrations on regional minimum wages.

Apindo agreed to withdraw its lawsuit, and both sides have agreed to give top priority to negotiations to set the new level of minimum wage.

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