Batam workers to stage protest Thursday
The Jakarta Post
Supporters of the Batam-chapter of the Indonesian Metal Workers Federation (FSPMI) are set to stage a protest rally on Thursday to voice their demand for a 50 percent rise in next year's minimum wage.
The workers claimed the weakening of rupiah against the Singapore dollar over the past year had caused a fall in the city's minimum wage, therefore, the 2015 local minimum wage (UMK) should be 50 percent higher than the current rate of Rp 2.4 million (US$197.55).
Suprapto of the FSPMI said 5,000 workers would join the protest rally, which was set to take place in front of the Batam Free Trade Zone Management Agency (BP FTZ) and the Batam mayor's office.
'We urge the government to increase the 2015 UMK to Rp 3.5 million per month from the current Rp 2.4 million. We want the number of daily basic need components to increase to 84 items from the current 60, including components for recreation and newspaper subscription, so that the workers can have a better life,' said Suprapto.
A tripartite team comprising the Batam administration, which is represented by the Manpower Agency, the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) and workers unions will start discussing the 2015 UMK in the middle of this month. The 2015 UMK must be finalized 40 days before it takes effect on Jan. 1, 2015.
'By November at the latest, the 2015 UMK must have been decided and we hope the amount is what we expect,' said Suprapto.
He said a wage of Rp 3.5 million would not be a heavy burden on entrepreneurs or investors in Batam. Based on the FSPMI calculation, the Rp 2.4 million wage in 2014 had been set when the rupiah exchange rate stood at Rp 8,200 per Singapore dollar, while currently, one Singapore dollar fetched Rp 9,320.
'If we refer to the current Singapore dollar exchange rate, this year's UMK has fallen by around S$40,' said Suprapto.
According to BP-FTZ official data, Batam has 588 foreign investment companies, most of which manufacture electronics. Of this total, 410 companies are from Singapore, 52 from Malaysia, 23 from Taiwan and 19 from South Korea. The remaining 84 companies are from other countries. (ebf)(++++)
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