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Jakarta Post

Despite workers'€™ boycott , council proposes minimum wage

  • Sita W. Dewi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, November 1, 2013   /  09:30 am

The Jakarta Remuneration Council gave Governor Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo two provincial minimum wage options for 2014 despite labor union representatives refusing to attend the tripartite meeting on Thursday.

'€œEmployers proposed Rp 2.29 million [US$203] whereas the administration put forward Rp 2.44 million. The governor will have to approve one of the options tomorrow,'€ Jakarta Manpower and Transmigration Agency head Priyono said.

The options were decided on after a lengthy five-hour meeting that was attended by 23 representatives from the administration and local businesses. The seats for the seven workers'€™ representatives were empty.

Employers'€™ representative Bambang Adam said the amount employers proposed was adequate as it was '€œbased on the basic cost of living components [and] in accordance to official surveys.'€

Bambang was referring to the 60 basic cost of living components (KHL) stipulated in Presidential Instruction No. 9/2013, which are a requirement in the deliberation of the provincial minimum wage.

Workers, however, believe that the basic cost of living should be set at Rp 2.7 million. In support of this '€” along with other work-related demands '€” workers across Greater Jakarta joined the nationwide two-day strike and boycotted the tripartite meeting, which had been originally scheduled for Wednesday.

Jokowi approached workers protesting on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan, just outside City Hall, at at 5 p.m. on Thursday and invited their representatives to speak to him, but the workers said no leaders were present to attend the discussion.

Jokowi returned to his office and waited for an hour before leaving through a side entrance on Jl. Kebon Sirih, saying '€œI have many other things to do.'€

Rally coordinator Tarmizi said that workers wanted no less than Rp 2.7 million. '€œWe hope the governor delays the decision until an agreement is reached,'€ he said.

Employers said they hoped the central government would find a solution to quell the annual saga.

'€œThis affects productivity, which drops by around 15 percent this time every year due to rallies and strikes,'€ he said.

Previously, Jokowi had said the central government should propose a law on remuneration to avoid an annual recurrence of the dispute.

'€œLast year it was the employers who walked out of the meeting, now it'€™s the workers. This cannot happen every year,'€ he said, explaining that it might harm the city'€™s image and potential investors.

The Remuneration Council is chaired by officials from the city administration and representatives from labor unions and employers'€™ associations. The tripartite forum makes recommendations on the minimum wage to the governor on an annual basis. The Jakarta governor has the final say on the city'€™s minimum wage.

Last year, the governor made his decision at the 11th hour, setting the 2013 provincial minimum wage at Rp 2.2 million, a 44 percent increase from 2012'€™s level of Rp 1.5 million.

A ministerial decree on minimum wages requires the provincial governments to decide on the new wage two months before the new policy would take effect, which is on Jan. 1 each year.

The Jakarta Remuneration Board set the basic cost of living (KHL) at Rp 1,978,789 last year.

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