Operations of state-owned public transportation company PT Damri returned to normal on Saturday afternoon after the company’s drivers ended their strike.
The company said in a statement that the operation of bus routes to and from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport resumed, with drivers getting back behind the wheel after an agreement was made.
“[An agreement] was made after Damri management, with the help of the East Jakarta Police, talked to the workers, ending the strike,” the company’s corporate secretary, Restiti Sekartani, said in a press statement on Saturday.
In the mediation process, Damri and the protestors agreed that the company would add off-board kenek (helpers) and that, for certain busy routes, there would be on-board helpers as well.
The drivers went on strike in a show of solidarity for helpers who were not employed by the company. The strike, involving Damri drivers and kenek, began Friday evening and ended Saturday afternoon, affecting bus services in Greater Jakarta.
Following the start of the strike, authorities and representatives from the Transportation Ministry, Damri, state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II (AP II) and several bus operators held a meeting in which they agreed that services to the airport must not be disrupted.
Restiti said earlier that the drivers had demanded that the company recruit helpers to assist in the company’s daily operations. Damri said kenek were not tied to the company, did not work specific hours and were informal workers hired by the drivers.
Hundreds of helpers lost their jobs last month as part of a restructuring of human resources as the company moved to develop an e-ticketing payment system.
The payment system follows the example of bus companies in other countries, where drivers manage their vehicles without any additional manpower.
With the system, passengers must take care of their own luggage and tickets without the services of helpers.
Damri president director SN Milatia Moemin said the company would proceed with the electronic payment system as it was in line with AP II’s digitalization of services.
“We will not back down with our plan to introduce the payment system’s electronic ticketing,” she said in the statement.
Local media reported that the strike affected most routes, with only three out of Damri’s 25 Greater Jakarta routes operating on Saturday.
Damri management issued an apology for any inconveniences experienced by those wanted to travel to and from the airport.
During the strike, airport management and bus companies deployed buses to ensure travelers had options.
The company’s restructuring of human resources made it so that on-board helpers were not needed. However, Restiti asserted that helpers would not be entirely removed from Damri’s services, as the company planned to allow them to assist passengers at departure and arrival points.
Helpers, she said, were recruited by the drivers and thus were not official Damri employees. The company previously hired at least 90 helpers after they had passed tests. However, the helpers decided to resign, allegedly after being pressured by their colleagues who did not pass the test and planned the strike. (eyc)