Workers rally against wage revision that doesn’t meet living costs
Workers from various organizations have staged rallies in many cities in Indonesia against the 2010 wage revision. Municipal administrations have issued minimum wage policies which according to workers only meets around 80 percent of the estimated basic living cost.
In Surabaya, a statement of the Mayor Bambang Dwi Hartono agreeing with the local payment body’s minimum wage recommendation has sparked a protest from labour unions in the city. According to the payment body, that cost in Surabaya would be Rp 1,017,618 in October, and with an inflation rate of 1.34 percent, would increase to Rp 1,031,253 by December. Based on the calculations, the body recommended Rp 1,031,500 as the 2010 minimum wage for Surabaya. Andi Kristiantono, chairman of KASBI Surabaya, argued that based on SBK Kasbi’s survey at the three traditional markets, the minimum living cost was Rp 1,093,532 (US$110), and with the inflation set to hit 3.5 percent, the minimum wage should have been Rp 1,131,804 (US$113).
Meanwhile in Tangerang, workers staged a rally at the municipal administration office center on 9 December to demand the mayor to implement Rp 1,171,600 as the 2010 monthly wage. The administration stated that it would maintain its stance that next year’s minimum wage would be Rp 1,118,250 (US$121) per month. Koswara, the chairman of the Indonesian Labor Union Alliance (Kasbi) for Tangerang municipality said the municipal manpower agency officials had promised to discuss workers’ request on the wage revision with Mayor Wahidin Halim.
In Jakarta, workers from various organizations also staged a huge rally demanding higher wages. In a meeting with city councilors on 8 December 2009, workers asked the council to recommend Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo raise the provincial minimum wage to at least meet the basic living cost in the city. The 2010 minimum wage in Jakarta is Rp 1,118,009, or 84.84 percent of the estimated basic living cost, which for 2010 has been calculated at Rp 1,317,710.
‘The wages that workers receive each month don’t cover the living costs, even if they work overtime,’ said Emilia Yanti, from the Coalition of Independent Workers Unions (GSBI).
‘To make ends meet, some women are resorting to selling themselves.’
She added there were also groups taking advantage of the women’s situation and steering them into prostitution.
‘They trap the women to get in,’ she said.
‘It’s all very well covered. The organizing of female workers as prostitutes is very well organized.’
Table of Jakarta Minimum Wage 2007-9
Unions stated that they would stage more rallies if the administration refused to fulfill their demands.
Sources: The Jakarta Post, 21 October, 8 December, 9 December 2009