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Jakarta Post

Workers, employers yet to agree on S. Sulawesi minimum wage

  • Andi Hajramurni and Fadli

    The Jakarta Post

Makassar/Batam   /   Sat, November 2, 2013   /  09:07 am

The South Sulawesi provincial administration has yet to decide on the 2014 provincial minimum wage (UMP) as workers and employers have refused to back out.

Workers are demanding a 50 percent increase from this year'€™s UMP of Rp 1.5 million (US$132.33), citing Rp 2.25 million for the provincial capital of Makassar and Rp 2.16 million for other regions in the province.

Meanwhile, the South Sulawesi branch of the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) has rejected the demand and has instead proposed a 10 percent increase.

Apindo also rejected the South Sulawesi remuneration council'€™s proposal of Rp 1.8 million, saying it was too much of a burden and that many companies would stop operating.

'€œThe meeting between the remuneration council and representatives from employers and workers ended in deadlock,'€ South Sulawesi Governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo said on Friday.

'€œThe employers rejected the remuneration council'€™s decision of increasing the minimum wage to Rp 1.8 million.'€

Syahrul said the provincial administration would again mediate between employers and workers after the workers'€™ rallies subsided.

He added that the provincial administration would still improve workers'€™ welfare while it considered business sustainability so that employers did not relocate to other provinces.

The governor said he had received a phone call from the chairman of the Apindo, who asked him to not let the 2014 minimum wage exceed its provincial economic growth of 8.6 percent.

'€œI told him that thus far, South Sulawesi has always been among the top-10 regions in providing welfare for workers,'€ Syahrul said.

'€œWe will maintain that, we will keep improving workers'€™ welfare.'€

On the other hand, South Sulawesi Apindo chairman Latunreng said the remuneration council and provincial administration should not bow to workers'€™ demands.

'€œThe provincial administration should also consider business sustainability and tell workers to understand the situation of the companies,'€ he said.

'€œBased on our survey, the 2014 minimum wage will be Rp 1.65 million at the most.'€

There are about 12,000 companies in South Sulawesi employing some 17,000 workers, while 70-80 percent of the companies are considered marginal businesses that are unable to pay the UMP.

'€œIf we increase the minimum wage by more than 10 percent, then there will be more companies closing shop.'€

Meanwhile, the Riau Islands administration has set its 2014 minimum wage at Rp 1.665 million, a 22 percent increase from this year'€™s minimum wage of Rp 1.365 million.

The wage hike has already been approved by Governor Muhammad Sani.

'€œWe have been through four meetings, road surveys on the basic cost of living [KHL] components and consultations with the Regional Salary Council to wind up with this result,'€ Riau Islands Manpower Agency head Tagor Napitupulu said on Friday.

The decision was issued amid a day of nationwide strikes, with workers demanding the government increase their salaries by at least 50 percent and revoke an outsourcing system.

Separately in Medan, truck drivers blocked the access road to Belawan Port, demanding security guarantee the abolishment of illegal levies.

The rally crippled the transportation of goods to and from Belawan Port.

A number of workers clashed with police while trying to break into the seaport compound. A worker was beaten by the police.

Seaport Truck Drivers Association (PSTP) head Muliadi lambasted the repressive methods used by the police, saying that the drivers were simply demanding a security guarantee.

Muliadi said the drivers had become victims of various criminal actions related to illegal levies.

Apriadi Gunawan contributed to the article from Medan

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