Deputy Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama lost his patience on Tuesday when facing protesting workers.
Dozens of workers grouped under the Nusantara Workers Association (SPN) were staging a protest at City Hall, demanding that the city administration force businesses to comply with the new minimum wage of Rp 2.2 million (US$226.69) set by the Jakarta Governor last year.
Basuki told the protesters in a raised voice that the labor issue was not the only one the administration was facing.
“We are focusing on the aftermath of the flooding that recently struck the city and we have just inaugurated new agency heads. So, I am sorry to say that you are not the only Jakarta residents that we have to think about,” he said. “We are not unsympathetic, but there are far more important issues we have to solve.”
Basuki then called on the protesters to return to work.
“Don’t waste your time on counterproductive activities. You leave your workplaces to stage a rally and yet you still want to be paid. That is not right. I want all of you to be patient,” he said, adding that the city administration was currently auditing all manufacturers affected by the new policy.
“I promise that the process will be completed this month. I will push the governor to make a firm decision on the raise-postponement requests,” he said, referring to requests submitted by many businesses to be allowed to postpone the new wage increase and avoid laying off workers.