News Column

Indonesian Workers Protest for Better Pay and Pensions

Nov. 22, 2012

Thousands of Indonesian workers picketed the presidential palace Thursday to demand salary rises and better job security.

The workers marched through central Jakarta to the presidential palace on foot and motorcycles, waving flags and chanting slogans.

"This is just a warm-up," said Said Iqbal, chairman of the Indonesian Labour Union Confederation.

"If our demands are not met, we will call for a nationwide strike," he said.

He said 30,000 workers participated in the rally.

The unions demanded the government establish a body to manage social security including insurance and pension plans, as mandated by a law passed last year.

They also said they should get pay rises of at least 30 per cent annually.

Indonesia's strong economic growth has prompted protests and strikes for better conditions this year, worrying investors.

Jakarta governor Joko Widodo this week agreed to raise the minimum wage in the capital by more than 40 per cent to 2.2 million (228 dollars).

Other regions are expected to raise minimum wages soon.

Sofyan Wanandi, chairman of the Indonesian Employers' Association said the rise was too high and suggested that it be applied only to big businesses.

"If employers can't afford the minimum wage, they will resort to laying off workers," said "The result will be an increase in unemployment."

Indonesia's economy grows 6 per cent annually.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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