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Increased minimum wage in Indonesia at a violent cost

8 November, 2013During the national demonstration on 31 October and 1 November, 1,5 million Indonesian workers took to the streets. Although some of the demands were met, the protests ended in violence in some parts of the country.

Workers demanded a 50% increase of the minimum wage, the implementation of national health security without exception on 1 January 2014 instead of a gradual implementation by 2019, the abolition of outsourcing, the enactment of a law on domestic workers, and the annulment of Mass Organisation law. As a result of the strike, some of the local governments have promised an increase in the minimum wage between 30 and 40 per cent. However, the Govenor of Jakarta opted for a mere 9 per cent increase.

According to Said Iqbal, President of IndustriALL Global Union affiliate FSPMI and the Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KSPI), this is “not realistic and irrational”, as the raise will not cover the living costs.

In the wake of the national demonstrations, IndustriALL representative in South East Asia Pacific, Vonny Diananto, conducted a solidarity trip to Indonesia. Meeting with trade union representatives, Vonny Diananto conveyed IndustriALL’s message of support for a living wage and basic social protection.”

Violent end to demonstrations

The legal and peaceful protest was set upon by paid thugs, resulting in an attack on 28 workers. Seventeen of them were severely injured and are currently hospitalized, three of which are in critical condition.

Said Iqbal is outraged:

“They workers were attacked while fighting for their rights, and the police let this happen. They let the thugs carry weapon and stab and slash the workers. This is a tragedy and democracy in Indonesia is under threat. The police need to find those responsible for this and take legal action against them. “

Jyrki Raina, General Secretary at IndustriALL, slams the attacks on peaceful demonstrators:

“This violation of human rights and workers’ right to strike is wholly unacceptable. IndustriALL condemns the violence and will closely monitor the situation in Indonesia.”