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Jakarta Post

House, unions agree to remove provisions that 'harm workers' from job creation omnibus bill

  • Ghina Ghaliya
    Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, August 22, 2020   /   12:46 pm
House, unions agree to remove provisions that 'harm workers' from job creation omnibus bill Members of environmental communities from various universities stage a protest against the omnibus bill on job creation in front of the House of Representatives complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on July 15. (Antara/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

The House of Representatives and labor unions have agreed not to include several proposed revisions in a disputed labor cluster of the controversial omnibus bill on job creation, amid persistent calls for the government and House to drop the bill.

House Deputy Speaker Sufmi Dasco Ahmad said a team consisting of members of the bill’s working committee from the House’s Legislation Body (Baleg) and the unions’ representatives had agreed not to include the proposed amendments that contradicted Constitutional Court (MK) rulings, which were final and binding.

"Some of the provisions are regarding fixed-term employment agreements, wages, severance pay, employment relations, layoffs, dispute settlements, social security and others," the Gerindra Politician said in a press conference on Friday.

The House will include substantial points into the bill’s problem inventory list (DIM) to be further discussed with the government in the bill’s deliberation.

Article 154 of the bill, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post, eliminates employers’ obligation to pay workers who are laid off due to the company’s efficiency efforts, stipulated in Article 164 (3) of the Manpower Law No. 13/2003.

This proposed revision contradicts MK ruling No. 19/PUU-IX/2011, which stipulates that companies can use efficiency reasons to lay off workers only when they have gone bankrupt or will close their business activities.

The bill also changes Article 66 of the 2003 Manpower Law that guarantees a specific time for a company to hire temporary and outsourcing workers by adding the term “indefinite work agreement”.

The team found that the proposed amendment contradicts MK ruling No. 27/PUU-IX/2011 stipulating that a company must have transition schemes to protect its workers.

Read also: Tripartite team won’t rubber stamp omnibus bill: KSPN chief

Said Iqbal, the chairman of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI), said that despite the agreements, the labor unions in the team were still against labor provisions in the bill.

“We urge for the labor cluster to be removed from the bill if possible and if the government wants to resolve [the bill] quickly. We told the lawmakers to communicate this with the government. We agree that the country needs more investments, […] especially following the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Lamhot Sinaga of the Golkar Party, a major supporter of the bill, said members of the bill’s working committee had agreed to prioritize protection for workers.  

“That's a point we want to emphasize. We are pro-investment but we don’t want to harm the workers,” he said.

Unions members and lawmakers held a two-day meeting on Thursday and Friday at Mulia Hotel in Senayan, Central Jakarta, to discuss the disputed articles before reaching an agreement announced on Friday. Baleg deputy chairman Willy Aditya of the NasDem Party led the meeting.

Despite the agreement, labor unions said they would still press ahead with their plan to hold massive rallies on Aug. 25 to protest the bill, one in front of Coordinating Economic Ministry building in Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta, and another in front of the House compound in Senayan.