ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thousands of Indonesian workers stage rallies
They also demanded that the government end the cheap-labour policy and exempt workers from paying contributions to the national healthcare programme.
For a second day, workers from industrial areas in Jakarta, Bekasi, Tangerang and Bogor marched from the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle to the Presidential Palace. Others staged protests outside the House of Representatives compound in Senayan and the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry, causing major traffic congestion in the city.
The demonstrations, which also involved hundreds of students from several universities in the city, were jointly organised by the Confederation of All-Indonesian Workers Union (KSPSI), the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI), the Confederation of Indonesian Prosperous Labour Union (KSBSI) and the Indonesian Workers Organisation (OPSI).
On Wednesday, thousands of workers organised by the National Workers Union (SPN) besieged the Presidential Palace, demanding the President issue a government regulation in lieu of law (perpu) to replace Law No. 40/2004 on the national social security system which requires that workers pay contributions to the five mandatory social security programmes.
They said that according to the Constitutional Court's verdict No. 82/2012, workers have the right to register themselves with the social security providers to participate in the social security programmes at the expense of their employers.
Igbal said workers, mostly underpaid, should not need to pay premiums to the national healthcare system because it was part of their constitutional right and therefore should be fully covered by employers under the current occupational social security programme, Jamsostek.
Separately, KSBSI chairman Mudhofir said at a rally outside the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry that it was the right time for the government to end the cheap-labour policy because the country's economy had grown by around 6 per cent annually, following the economic downturn which hit Asian countries in 1997.
"Employers have never voluntarily revised the remuneration system in their businesses and the government has never revised the policy without pressure from workers," he said, adding that workers would continue pressing the government and employers to accept the list of 80 wage components to provide decent salaries to workers.
The government has recently issued a new ministerial decree that sets 60 wage components compared to the former 46 components, leading to a significant increase of between 20 per cent and 40 per cent in provincial minimum wages for 2013.
Meanwhile, Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar called on workers to go back to their workplaces, saying industrial strikes were not the only way to fight for their aspirations.
"With the two-day strikes, both workers and employers lose millions of working hours, industrial processes are halted and production is suspended. It is better for labour unions to channel their aspirations through the National Social Security Committee (DJSN) to be brought to the plenary session with the relevant stakeholders preparing draft regulations to implement the social security programmes," he said.
The workers also demanded the government instruct all labour supervisors in regions to closely monitor the implementation of newly issued Ministerial Decree No. 19/2012 which allows employers to outsource only five job types — security, catering, driving, cleaning and support services in mining sites — to other companies. Several manpower supplying companies have threatened to bring the new decree to the Supreme Court for judicial review.
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