15 December, 2014On 10 December, 1 million members of Indonesian trade union confederations KSPI, KSBSI and KSPSI went on strike demanding wage increases after president Joko Widodo upped fuel prices. In Jakarta 50,000 people marched to the President’s Palace to voice their demands.
The day of action follows on demonstrations one week earlier, where unions reacted to the new minimum wage for 2015. Minimum wage in Indonesia is set according to the province of the country.
On 10 December three of Indonesia’s trade union confederations KSPI, KSBSI, KSPSI organized a national strike, involving around 1 million union members in large cities in the country. In Jakarta alone, around 50,000 workers demonstrated on the streets.
The unions are opposed to price increase on fuel introduced by the president. The hike will effectively mean that workers lose 50 per cent of their purchasing power.
Unions are urging Governors of every province to increase the minimum wage to USD 272,7 and to increase the number of items for living cost calculation from 60 to 84 items.
A pension reform was agreed to enter into force on 1 July 2015, but there are growing concerns on what how it will be implemented.
Said Iqbal, president of trade union confederation KSPI, says:
“The law already exists, what we need is for the government to make a decree so that the law can be implemented. Once it is implemented, 44 million workers will benefit from the pension system.”
A universal health insurance meant to apply to all citizens in Indonesia as of January 2014, still leaves more than 10 million people lacking cover. Unions are demanding that this level of health insurance should be fully implemented for everyone by 1 January 2015.
The striking unions are also demanding a stop to outsourcing, which is growing fast in Indonesia.
Said Iqbal says:
We want to see 16 million agency workers converted to direct employment. And if the government strictly follows the law, this should happen.
On 11 December 2014, the confederations met with the Indonesian House of Representatives to present their five demands. Rusli, spokesperson of IndustriALL Global Union affiliate Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers Union (FSPMI) said:
"We will see how the government reacts to the demands we raised in today's rally. If they fail to respond we will stage a nationwide strike.”
Unity among unions
As IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in the Indonesian National Council met for a unity building meeting on 11 – 12 December, they expressed their support for the unions involved in the struggle.
IndustriALL unions in Indonesia are currently working together on drafting a model collective bargaining agreement, as well as on a high profile campaign for 14 weeks maternity leave for all Indonesian women workers.