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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  5 March 2014  

Batam workers rally over tariff hike plan

Hundreds of workers of the Indonesia Metal Workers Federation (FSPMI) staged a rally in front of the Batam office of state power firm PT PLN and demanded it cancel the planned 17.19 percent increase in the electricity tariff.

The workers said the increase could trigger an increase in the prices of basic necessities. The trade union urged the government to not raise the power tariff this year.

FSPMI leader Suprapto told The Jakarta Post on Monday that based on a meeting with the Batam PLN management, it was agreed that the planned rise in the power tariff would be canceled.

“We were greeted by the Batam PLN management and it said the planned increase in the power tariff was canceled,” said Suprapto.

According to Suprapto, the rise in the power tariff would have an impact on the rise in the prices of basic necessities, so the struggle to raise the city’s minimum wage (UMK) would be futile as workers would not have spare money to save.

“The fight for a raise in salary would be pointless as the rise in the power tariff would have an impact on the rise in the prices of basic necessities,” said Suprapto.

Should the PLN raise the power tariff, added Suprapto, the 2015 UMK was predicted to rise even higher to more than 17 percent.

Batam PLN operational director Tagor Sidjabat told the protesters that for the time being, PLN would postpone the rise in the power tariff until an agreement had been reached by the Batam mayor and municipal council.

“We urge workers to remain calm as there is not yet an increase in the power tariff. It will not be put into effect until a discussion has been reached between the municipal council and mayor,” said Tagor.

The workers urged PLN to not only postpone the increase in the power tariff but cancel it altogether.

The workers then shouted at the PLN management, but rally coordinators were able to calm the crowd and the workers eventually dispersed, later converging at the Batam municipal council offices.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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