Jakarta – A number of labour and farmer organisations are threatening to hold a mass strike if Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) Number 2/2022 replacing the Omnibus Law on Job Creation (Ciptaker) is ratified into law.
This was conveyed in a demand during a protest action held by the Labour Alliance with the People (Gebrak) in front of the House of Representatives (DPR) building in Jakarta on Tuesday March 14.
The action, which began in the afternoon, continued on into the night with demonstrators only disbanding voluntarily at 8 pm.
The statement was made by one of the action coordinators after coordination and negotiation with police. Initially they had been asked to disband earlier.
They also pledged to come back again at another time to make the same demand with an even larger number of protesters.
During the action titled "Revoke the Perppu Deceit", the chairperson of the Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance (KASBI), which is part of the labour-farmer alliance, Sunarno, said that the general strike will be initiated immediately if their demands are not heeded by the government and the people's representatives.
"If within a short time it (the Perppu Ciptaker) is not revoked, we will hold a general strike that will be carried out simultaneously", said Sunarno at the location of the action.
"Not just workers, there will also be university students, high-school students, there will also be farmers", he added.
According to Sunarno, the strike by various vital sectors such as workers, farmers and other employees will be the last option in order that their demands are met.
Sunarno claimed that various sectors in different parts of Indonesia will take part in the mass strike.
"Yes, a national scale, and not just workers, but all elements of the movement. Normally we will strike first for three days and then we will hold a consolidation", he said.
Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA) General Secretary Dewi Kartika took the opportunity to make a similar statement. According to Kartika, the enactment of the Perppu Ciptaker will have an impact on workers, farmers and in particular, people's right to land.
"Under the Perppu Cipta Kerja there are many articles that side with corporations or large scale enterprises", said Kartika.
"So the process of land procurement, then business permits, building permits, then also the formation of a land bank, this will have a very broad impact on farmers", she added.
Aside from Jakarta, protest actions opposing the enactment of the Perppu Ciptaker also took place in several other Indonesian cities on Tuesday.
In the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar, there have even been two protest actions against the enactment of the Perppu Ciptaker, on Monday and Tuesday.
On Tuesday, worker and student protesters in Makassar surrounded the South Sulawesi Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) then took turns giving speeches from a pickup truck that was used as a stage in front of the DPRD. A quite long traffic jam developed in front of the DPRD offices because of the protest.
Chaos broke out on Tuesday afternoon in the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang during a demonstration by students opposing the Perppu Ciptaker in front of the Central Java DPRD building and the governor's office. There was tension when students wanted to enter the grounds of the people's representatives but were blocked by police.
As late afternoon approached, the students finally disbanded pledging to return with more demonstrators if the DPR push through the enactment of the Perppu Ciptaker at an upcoming plenary meeting.
Earlier, a DPR's Legislative Body (Baleg) meeting agreed to take the Perppu Ciptaker to a plenary meeting where it would be enacted into law. The meeting was held at the parliamentary complex on Wednesday February 15 and attended by Coordinating Economics Minister Airlangga Hartarto and Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD.
Then last Tuesday, following a DPR plenary meeting on March 8, DPR Deputy Speaker Sufmi Dasco Ahmad said that they would hold a DPR leadership and consultative body meeting to discuss the Perppu Ciptaker. The Perppu Ciptaker along with the Draft Law on the Protection of Domestic Workers (RUU PPRT) will then be processed in accordance with the mechanisms used by the DR to ratify laws.
[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Aliansi Buruh-Tani Ancam Mogok Massal Jika Perppu Ciptaker Jadi UU".]