Tri Indah Oktavianti, Jakarta – More than 100 media workers have filed reports on alleged violation of labor rights committed by their workplaces, the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers) has revealed.
As of Monday, the institute had received at least 137 reports from journalists and other media workers who filed reports of alleged unfair treatment by their employers across the country, most of which came from Greater Jakarta.
Most of the reports were related to layoffs and furloughs experienced by the workers due to the economic fallout of the outbreak. Most of them also reported pay and holiday bonus cuts.
LBH Pers also received more reports as the House of Representatives passed the job creation bill into law on Oct. 5.
On Monday, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo eventually signed the law, which is aimed at boosting national economic recovery through significant adjustments to labor rules and business licensing processes.
"We have received at least 15 more reports since [the law was passed]," LBH Pers director Ade Wahyudin said on Wednesday.
Critics said the Job Creation Law would threaten Indonesian press freedom, as they deemed the law would make it easier for media companies to lay off their workers or treat them unfairly.
"[The Job Creation Law] will worsen working conditions for media workers, including provisions about severance pay during layoffs and relations between employers and workers," Ade said.
He added LBH Pers had provided assistance to media workers by mediating between workers and media companies as well as going to the Regional Manpower Agency for mediation and litigation efforts.
The media industry has been hit hard by economic hardships amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) has received a number of reports of media companies that cut wages, delayed salary payments and laid off employees.
In addition, at least 242 journalists have tested positive for COVID-19, according to AJI data from March to September.
In August, The Jakarta Post also announced that it would lay off two-thirds of its employees in a bid to reduce costs and ease financial hardship.
On Oct. 12, the Post's management encouraged employees to resign by offering a severance package for those who could no longer stand the uncertainty and wished to leave. This resulted in more than 20 employees leaving the newsroom.