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Jakarta Post

Workers visit factories ahead of general strike

  • Andi Hajramurni and Fadli

    The Jakarta Post

Makassar   /   Thu, October 31, 2013   /  07:47 am

Ahead of the two-day nationwide strike on Thursday, dozens of workers in Makassar, South Sulawesi visited factories at the Makassar Industrial Estate (Kima) on Wednesday.

The workers not only disseminated plans on the strike but also requested that each factory and company send representatives to participate in the strike.

The representatives are expected to recruit their fellow workers to join the nationwide strike and stage a rally to demand increased minimum wages and the dissolution of a contract system for workers.

Workers also distributed flyers listing their demands at the companies they visited.

'€œTomorrow [Thursday] is the peak of our action. The workers in Makassar will take part in the strike to fight for proper wages for workers,'€ said Eros from the Confederation of Indonesian Labor Union Struggle (KSPBI).

He said based on the confederation'€™s assessment, the minimum wage for 2014 should be increased by 50 percent as the price of basic goods had skyrocketed after the government hiked fuel prices. Eros said the minimum wage for South Sulawesi should be Rp 2.1 million (US$187.91) and for Makassar at least would be Rp 2.2 million ($195,8) per month.

'€œThose are the minimum standards while it should be even higher for a proper living,'€ he said.

After conducting their activities, the workers returned to their duties while the operations of companies inside Kima were not affected.

The workers are scheduled to stage rallies in three places: Under the Makassar flyover, in front of the South Sulawesi governor'€™s office and in front of the South Sulawesi Legislative Council (DPRD).

The authorities are preparing at least 3,000 policemen and soldiers to safeguard the strike.

In Batam, Riau Islands, a number of factories were forced to stop operations on Tuesday as their workers took part in rallies.

The Riau Islands chapter of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) said the losses reached some $20 million per day with acting chairwoman Nada Faza Soraya expecting there would be no strikes.

'€œThe figure is for the real calculation, such as the loss of time for production according to factory capacity,'€ she said.

'€œA factory making 70 percent of the world'€™s contact lenses stopped its operations. We can imagine the losses.'€

More losses will be suffered if more companies are affected by the planned strikes on Thursday.

'€œWe hope the labor unions cancel their plans for a strike because it will greatly affect the export-oriented companies in Batam,'€ she said.

Workers in Batam demanded a minimum wage of Rp 3.4 million for 2014.

Meanwhile, thousands of workers from various trade unions, such as the Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers Union (FPSMI), the All Indonesia Labor Union (SPSI) and the Indonesian Prosperity Trade Union (SBSI) were already split on staging separate rallies in Batam.

Batam chapter SPSI head Saiful Badri claimed the model of struggle between the organizations was different, with his group wanting unions to fight for their aspirations in a polite manner.

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