City to set up schemes to placate workers
Thousands of workers stage protest demanding higher provincial minimum wage Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno looks at schemes to reduce their daily expenses
The Jakarta administration says it cannot meet workers’ demands for higher provincial minimum wages after about 3,000 protested in front of City Hall on Friday.
The city instead promised to reduce the workers’ cost of living by reducing commodity prices and organizing free bus rides.
Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno said he had asked city-owned market operator PD Pasar Jaya and city-owned bus operator PT Transjakarta to arrange schemes that would lower the cost of living for workers in Jakarta.
“PD Pasar Jaya president director Arief is studying the possibility of using PD Pasar Jaya card to get lower commodity prices. The card will be handed to the workers,” Sandiaga said, adding that PT Transjakarta president director Budi Kaliwono was looking at free bus rides.
“The workers who would get these incentive were those who possessed Jakarta ID cards,” Sandiaga added.
The workers from various unions, such as the National Workers Union (SPN), the Indonesian Metal Workers Federation (FSPMI) and the Indonesian Workers Union Association (Aspek), staged the protest to coincide with National Heroes Day.
They also demanded that Government Regulation No.78/2015 on wages be revoked.
Last week, Governor Anies Baswedan announced that the 2018 minimum wage stood at Rp 3.6 million (US$266). It was set by taking into account inflation and economic growth, as stipulated by Government Regulation No. 78/2015.
At the rally, the deputy president of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Unions (KSPI), Muhamad Rusdi, said Anies and Sandiaga had broken their campaign promise to set the minimum wage using Law No. 13/2003 on manpower. According to the law, the minimum wage shall be set by taking into account the basic cost of living, inflation and economic growth.
If the minimum wage was set by using the law on manpower, the wage would stand at Rp 3.9 million, Rusdi said.
He added that the minimum wage for Jakarta should be higher than that of Karawang and Bekasi in West Java because the cost of living is higher in the capital.
“[To set the minimum wage in Jakarta at Rp 3.6 million] is weird because the cost of living here is higher than those in the other two regions,” he said, adding that the minimum wage for Karawang and Bekasi stands at Rp 3.5 million and Rp 3.6 million, respectively.
Sandiaga said the city had worked on increasing the workers’ prosperity by increasing the minimum wage from last year’s Rp 3.3 million to Rp 3.6 million this year, an 8 percent increase.
“What the administration is doing now is increasing the minimum wage as well as reducing their cost of living,” he said.
A protester, Sita Ayu, 23, said her monthly salary only stood at Rp 3.1 million.
Sita, who works at a pharmaceutical factory in Pulo Gadung in East Jakarta, said it was not enough to support her family.
The rally, which started at about 9 a.m., was monitored by about 15,600 personnel from the Jakarta Police, the National Police Mobile Brigade Command (Brimob) and the Indonesian Military (TNI), Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Idham Azis said.
He added that the number of protesters who attended rally was lower than expected.
“They said there would be more than 10,000 protesters today, but the figure was much lower than that, only between 3,000 and 4,000 protesters,” Idham said.