City announces basic cost of living for 2015
Dewanti A. Wardhani
The Jakarta Post
After months of surveys and weeks of deliberations, the city has set its basic cost of living for 2015 at slightly over Rp 2.5 million (US$208), falling short of the Rp 2.69 million demanded by workers.
Manpower Agency head Priyono said that the number was approved on Thursday evening after several meetings by the Jakarta tripartite wage committee, which is represented by city administration, employers and workers.
'We have approved the new basic cost of living at Rp 2,538,174.31 per month. Next week, we will set the new minimum wage,' Priyono told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Priyono said the new basic cost of living was based on 60 factors, including the cost of services like water and transportation.
The number is slightly higher than this year's basic cost of living, which was set Rp 2,299,860, and the minimum wage, which was set at Rp 2.4 million.
Separately, Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) Jakarta deputy chairman Sarman Simanjorang said that no new components were considered in determining the new basic cost of living. Instead, he said, the components were 'improved in quality'.
Sarman, who is a union member representing employers, said that based on surveys and studies, employers had proposed Rp 2.49 million as the basic cost of living. The workers, he said, had asked for Rp 2.69 million.
'Previously, the workers had asked to change several things in the components. For example, they wanted to change the 'newspaper' component to 'tabloid', 'coffee and tea' to just 'coffee', and 'flour' to 'instant noodles'. These changes totaled up to Rp 2.69 million,' Sarman told the Post on Friday.
In the end, the committee agreed to change 'flour' to 'instant noodles', which, Sarman said, was the most sensible change.
Although Vice President Jusuf Kalla has said that the fuel-price hike would take place some time in November, Sarman said that it had not been taken into account.
'We do not know when the fuel-price hike will take place and how much it would increase. Therefore, we have made it the responsibility of each employer to increase their workers' transportation allowance,' Sarman said.
'[The committee] has referred to the Regulation of the Minister of Manpower No. 13/2012 on components and implementation to determine standard cost of living. I think all stakeholders are satisfied with the number,' he said.
However, one union member representing workers in the tripartite discussion, Muhammad Toha, said that workers were dissatisfied with the new standard.
- 2015 level decided in tripartite meetings
- Standard is below workers' proposals, slightly higher than employers' proposal
- Union representative disappointed that cell phones were excluded from list of considered expenses
'The basic cost of living is supposed to provide workers with a decent life. Sure, we can live on
Rp 2,538,174.31, but I do not think anyone can live comfortably with that amount of money,' Toha told the Post on Friday.
He said that workers had demanded additional expenses be taken into consideration, such as mobile communication.
'Mobile communication is a basic necessity in this era. However, it was not included [as an expense]. This does not make sense,' Toha said.
He said that he also regretted that basic cost of living had failed to consider the fuel price hike. Toha added that workers hoped the minimum wage would be set at a level of least Rp 3 million a month.
'We will try to discuss this with the city administration. We will keep trying, even if it takes sending 1 million workers into the streets to protest,' Toha said.
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