The Jakarta Post
Thousands of workers in Jakarta and its surrounding areas continued rallying on Monday to demand higher salaries, the provision of health care and the elimination of the outsourcing system.
In Bekasi regency, around 5,000 workers demonstrated in front of the regent's office from 10 a.m. while waiting for the result of the Bekasi Wage Council's meeting.
The head of the All-Indonesia Workers Union (SPSI) Bekasi, Iman, told The Jakarta Post that workers were ready to strike in the same manner as they did last year ' by blocking the Jakarta-Cikampek toll road ' if their demands were not met by the regency administration.
'Today is our final effort. If our demands are not met, the toll road will be packed with workers once again,' he said firmly.
The demonstrators came from all industrial areas in the regency. They sat patiently around the government office compound while listening to speeches.
When the speeches finished, songs by legendary singer Iwan Fals blared from speakers installed on pickup trucks.
Amir Mahfuzh, the head of the Bekasi branch of the Indonesian Metal Workers Federation (FSPMI), implied that his organization was reluctant to follow the hard stance of the SPSI. He said the FSPMI would wait for the result of the meeting before deciding on the next step.
Workers in Bekasi regency are demanding a 50 percent pay increase for next year. The base wage for 2013 is Rp 2,002,000 (US$172.14) per month.
Bekasi municipality has set a base wage of Rp 2.44 million, slightly less than the proposed Rp 2.49 million.
Bekasi Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) chairman Purnomo Narmiadi revealed that the agreed upon amount was proposed by the city administration. During the meeting, the association proposed Rp 1.96 million.
'The voting result was 18:2:2 [in favor of the administration's proposal]. Almost all workers' representatives supported the administration's proposal,' he said as quoted by kompas.com news portal.
In Depok, the base wage has been set at Rp 2,397,000 per month, which is far below the workers recommended Rp 2.9 million.
Bogor's head of the Social and Manpower Agency, Nuradi, revealed that the regency had decided that the base wage for 2014 would be Rp 2.24 million. However, companies that could not afford to pay that amount could request a waiver.
Workers in Jakarta also demonstrated in front of the City Council building to demand that the 2014 base wage be raised to Rp 3.7 million. Governor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo has set the figure at Rp 2.44 million.
' JP/Rangga D. Fadillah
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