TheJakartaPost

Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post

May Day rallies go online amid COVID-19 restrictions as workers continue to oppose job creation bill

  • Ghina Ghaliya
    Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, May 1, 2020   /   06:01 am
May Day rallies go online amid COVID-19 restrictions as workers continue to oppose job creation bill Hundreds of workers take part in a demonstration to oppose the omnibus bill on job creation in front of the Tangerang Legislative Council (DPRD) in Tigaraksa, Banten, on Jan. 29. (Antara/Fauzan)

A coalition of three major labor unions in the country calling itself the the Indonesian Labor Workers Assembly (MPBI) is preparing to organize May Day digital strikes, demanding an end to the deliberation of the omnibus bill on job creation.

The coalition previously planned to hold the rally on the streets on Thursday.

The unions agreed to cancel the street protests after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo announced last Friday that the government had reached a deal with the House of Representatives to delay deliberation of the labor provisions within the bill.

The May Day online protests are to take place on the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram platforms of the coalition members' accounts. 

As of Thursday, a hashtag, #demodarirumah (rally from home), popped up in several social media platforms, mostly voicing opposition to the omnibus bill.  

Said Iqbal, president of the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) ‒ one of MPBI’s members ‒ said on Thursday that even without street protests, the coalition would still call on the government to withdraw the omnibus bill from deliberations.

"We ask the government to issue a Keppres [Presidential Decree] to allow trade unions to join the drafting team so that the bill will accommodate the public’s interests,” he said.

The coalition also demanded job protections amid the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that airlines, hotels, travel agents, restaurants, logistic firms, online transportation services, digital economic firms, as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) had seen the most layoffs.

"The number could reach 80 to 90 percent of the total number of layoffs amid the pandemic.”

Manpower Ministry data show that more than 1.9 million workers in both the formal and informal sectors had either been furloughed or laid off as of April 19, as companies temporarily halt operations to comply with large-scale social restrictions (PSBB). However, Iqbal said, not all sectors had been equally hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Don't use the pandemic [as an excuse] not to pay full THR [Idul Fitri holiday bonuses], wages or severance pay [for laid-off workers]," he said.

The coalition also noted that many workers were forced to continue working as normal amid the pandemic and demanded that the government and employers ensure workers were better protected.

"Many of them have been infected with COVID-19, for example in PT Denso Indonesia, PT Eds Manufacturing Indonesia (PEMI) and PT Yamaha Music. They are giant companies. The workers have been infected [with the virus] and some of them have died," Iqbal said.

Read also: As COVID-19 bites, current labor rules can protect jobs

The coalition plans to display banners outside company offices and other strategic places in protest.

Andi Gani Nena Wea, president of the All-Indonesia Workers Union Confederation (KSPSI) ‒ also a MPBI member ‒ said the three labor unions would also replace the May Day street rally with social service activities on Friday.

"We will distribute PPE and hand sanitizer to hospitals in Bekasi, Jakarta and Tangerang. Workers will do the same in their respective regions,” he said.

Labor groups the Inter-Factory Laborers Federation (FBLP), the All-Indonesia United Workers Confederation (KPBI) and SINDIKASI, a trade union for media and creative industry workers, are also calling for deliberations on the job creation bill to be stopped so the government and the House can focus on COVID-19.

"We don't need them to delay deliberations of part [of the bill]. We demand deliberations of the entire bill be stopped,” Ellena Ekarehendy of SINDIKASI said.