Since the fall of the authoritarian Soeharto regime in 1998, thousands of workers from numerous labor unions across the country have taken to the streets every May 1 to mark International Labor Day or “May Day”.
The rallies, which voice workers’ aspirations and reinforce long-held “street level political activities”, underline workers’ demands for a more labor-friendly public policy that will impact on their living standards.
This year, the May Day rally has focused, in its Worker Manifesto, on the three main demands of ending the insecure employment that results from outsourcing, an improvement in the procedure to set minimum wages and the formation of a better social protection scheme.
On some occasions, the unions have succeeded through rallies in forcing the government to halt or annul decisions that were not in their members’ interests. The prote...