Moh Khory Alfarizi, Jakarta – The Labor Party and the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) gathered in front of the Manpower Ministry headquarters on Friday, November 4, 2022, to protest against rumors suggesting a mass layoff had struck the textile and garment industries due to possible recession.
President of the Labor Party Said Iqbal, refuted the rumors, stating that "based on the facts the Labor Party and KSPI have right now, news about a layoff on 45,000 garment and textile workers is untrue. There had been no layoffs in the automotive sector."
Said Iqbal argued that the rumors have been circulating to strengthen the notion that a recession is imminent, which he suspects is intentionally done to prevent workers' wage increases.
Workers are also worried that the recession will be a pretext for companies to cut workers. "We urge the Minister to stop spreading fear or become provocateurs implying a dark economy for 2023 [and also stop creating fear] of a global recession," he wrote.
The impact of the recession narrative would be very detrimental to workers. Said Iqbal emphasized that employers could take advantage of this situation to ask for persistent wages instead of layoffs. Furthermore, workers are worried that employers will replace the workforce from outsourcing companies.
Said explained that in theory, a recession will occur when the economy experiences a slowdown for two consecutive quarters, which he believes to be untrue with respect to Indonesia's positive economic growth. Citing government data, Said Iqbal mentioned that the Indonesian economy in the second quarter grew 5.1 percent and 5 percent in the third quarter.