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Bandung workers reject contract labour, electricity rate hikes

Tempo - May 1, 2014

Risanti, Bandung – Commemorating International Labour Day on May 1, hundreds of workers from the All Indonesian Workers Union-Metal and Electronic Machinery Trade Union Federation (SPSI-FSP LEM) and the Bandung branch of the SPSI held a demonstration on the grounds of the West Java-Banten state electricity company (PLN).

"Labour Day is not a gift from the government, but a result of years of struggle by workers. Now we return to the struggle for workers' rights. All the best for Labour Day", said action coordinator Ajat Sudrajat in a speech in front of the PLN building on Thursday May 1.

During the action, the workers sought clarification from the PLN on electricity rate increases, which the workers believe will threaten the livelihood of contract workers. "Electricity rate hikes mean that the first victims will be contract workers, more wage problems, stalled production costs and finally dismissals", said Sudrajat to cheers from the other workers.

The workers also demanded that the government abolish contract labour and called for decent wages. The workers believe that contract labour systems only confuse the status of workers in order to squeeze more work out of them.

In addition to this, the workers also demanded that the government immediately improve healthcare services provided by the Social Security Management Agency (BPJS) that have yet to be realised. According to the workers, the government is not yet ready to implement the BPJS program that began in January this year. "They say that the BPJS is in the interests of the Indonesian people, but up until now there is no evidence of this", said another action coordinator.

Source: http://www.tempo.co/read/news/2014/05/01/083574646/May-Day-Buruh-Tolak-Kenaikan-Tarif-Listrik.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service.]

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