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Jakarta Post

Labor union to hold massive protest in Jakarta despite physical distancing measures

  • Ghina Ghaliya
    Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, April 3, 2020   /   02:27 pm
Labor union to hold massive protest in Jakarta despite physical distancing measures Members of the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) hold a rally to reject the omnibus bill on job creation in front of the legislative complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on Feb. 12. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

One of Indonesia’s biggest labor groups,  the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI), intends to hold a massive protest against the omnibus bill on job creation following the House of Representatives' decision to start its deliberation during the coronavirus pandemic.

KSPI president Said Iqbal said on Friday that the protest would be held in mid-April, involving 50,000 workers throughout Greater Jakarta in front of the legislative complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta.

“We will protest the bill at any risk. If some parties disagree with our activity, just ask the House. They have triggered millions of Indonesian workers, something that does not need to happen amid the pandemic," he said in a statement.

Read also: Key points of labor reform in omnibus bill on job creation: What we know so far

He added that the workers were also not afraid to break the no-gathering policy, which is a part of the government’s efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve. 

“We feel threatened. First, the threat to our lives because we are still working during the pandemic. Second, the threat to our future due to the omnibus bill deliberation.”

Civil society organizations, major labor unions and student organizations had previously prepared for street rallies in March to protest articles in the omnibus bill on job creation that — if passed — would harm labor rights, the environment and democracy. They also protested the bill’s less-than-transparent drafting process.

However, the rallies were canceled due to the pandemic.

Iqbal said deliberating the omnibus bill at a time like this showed that the lawmakers had no empathy for the people.

Read also: Omnibus bill's tripartite forum upsets labor unions

He said the House should prioritize the handling of the pandemic rather than the omnibus bill.

"The omnibus bill is not a solution to the layoff phenomenon during the pandemic. It’s not a solution for Indonesia's economic growth problems due to the pandemic as well. It is clear that the omnibus bill is not being prepared in anticipation of the effects of COVID-19,” he said.

The House on Thursday agreed to begin deliberation of the bill in a plenary session led by House Deputy Speaker Azis Syamsuddin of the Golkar Party, a party in President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s coalition.

The party, led by Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto, has been the main supporter of the bill. Airlangga had previously visited some party leaders, both in the government coalition and outside in soliciting support for the bill.