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Jakarta Post

Omnibus bill to help create jobs for less productive labor

  • Dimas Muhamad
    Dimas Muhamad

    Trade and industrial policy analyst, studying for Master in public policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Cambridge, Massachusetts, US   /   Wed, February 19, 2020   /  10:12 am
Omnibus bill to help create jobs for less productive labor World of work: Hundreds of applicants head for a walk-in interview for a bank at the Smesco Building in Jakarta in November 2019. Much of the controversy around the omnibus bill focuses on fears of existing workers, while others hope the new law will create new jobs. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Nicholas Kristof, a renowned human rights advocate and New York Times columnist, raised eyebrows years ago with an article defending sweatshops in Cambodia. How could a human rights defender do such a thing? In the piece, Kristof shared the stories of people working as scavengers at a Phnom Penh garbage dump. One of them, earning less than US$1 a day, told him that “its dirty, hot and smelly here, a factory is better”. For some of us, working in a factory is probably a nightmare, but for millions who scrape a living without formal jobs, it’s the dream. This is something we lose sight of in our heated discourse over the job creation omnibus bill. Currently, there are around 7 million unemployed people in Indonesia. We should, of course, try to improve the wellbeing of existing workers, but we cannot just sweep millions of our jobless people under the rug....

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.