Thousands of firms seek exemptions from minimum wage
Ridwan Max Sijabat
The Jakarta Post
As workers held mass protests and strikes last week, thousands of labor-intensive companies are seeking government approval to postpone raising workers’ monthly wages to the new rate in the new year.
Companies can petition to delay the raise in wages as long as they can show that they have faced financial difficulties in the past two years, and proof is available for auditing by a public accountant.
Secretary-general of the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo), Suryadi Sasmita, revealed that a number of the firms had submitted requests to local administrations.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Jakarta and its environs have expressed strong objections of the increase by 44 percent to Rp 2.2 million in Jakarta, and by 60 percent to Rp 2,002,000 million in Bogor.
Apindo Chairman Sofjan Wanandi said 60 Korean companies producing textiles, garments and shoes in and around Jakarta have proposed delaying the increase.
Sofjan has warned the manpower and transmigration minister and regional heads against politicking on the minimum wage, saying the significant raise would certainly raise financial problems for employers, and damage the investment climate.
Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Syariefuddin Hasan said the significant wage raise would not affect SMEs because their remuneration system was based on bargaining between workers and employers.
He added that all stakeholders should sit together to identify the real problems behind the minimum wage issue and manage those issues wisely.
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