Fajar Pebrianto, Jakarta – Labor unions were protesting over the decision of Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah to not raise the minimum wage in 2021. Ida was considered to have a lack of sensitivity towards the fate of workers.
"The minister only favors the interests of employers," said the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Unions (KSPI) president, Said Iqbal, in an official statement in Jakarta, Tuesday, October 27.
Ida on Monday, October 26, issued a ministerial circular No. M/11/HK.04/X/2020 concerning the determination of the 2021 minimum wage during the Covid-19 Pandemic. "In consideration of the economic conditions during the pandemic and the necessity of a national economic recovery," as noted in the letter.
Through the circular, governors were asked to announce the determination of the 2021 provincial minimum salary which would be the same as in the previous year on October 31, 2020.
Iqbal thus asked governors to ignore the circular. He acknowledged that corporations were facing a hard time, but workers were much more in difficult situations.
He argued that the minimum workers' pay in 2021 should be increased despite the ongoing pandemic. Companies who are not compatible to meet it could announce a postponement after negotiating with labor unions and report the matter to the ministry.
Even in the 1998 Asian financial crisis, Iqbal added, the minimum wage was still increased to maintain people's purchasing power. He further questioned whether President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo acknowledged Minister Ida's policy or it was only the ministry's sole decision.
Iqbal asserted that workers would stage stronger protests. A large demonstration will be held until November 10, 2020, against the policy and the Job Creation Law.