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Laborers protest over regulated wage cuts

Tempo - March 20, 2023

Hanifah Dwijayanti, Jakarta – Trade Unions argued that the Ministry of Manpower Regulation No. 5 of 2023 concerning Adjustment on Work Hours and Salary in Labor Intensive Company has legalized labor welfare degradation.

"The minister regulation has substantially legalized welfare degradation for laborers in five vital industry sectors affecting more than 5 million laborers," said the Coordinator for Sectoral Social Dialogue (DSS) Emelia Yanti Siahaan in a press conference on Monday, March 20, 2023.

The five affected industry sectors are textile and clothing, footwear, leather, furniture, and toys. Emelia said that wage cuts applied to more than 5 million laborers will certainly affect their family's welfare.

"Wage is basic rights, its non-negotiable, even in whatever conditions. Global economic recession excuse is just hard to comprehend to legalize wage cuts because the laborer and his/her family is the most affected by the crisis," Emelia explained.

In addition, Emelia said that wage cuts have been occurring since last year. Back in 2022, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) recorded that around 50.62 percent of laborers in the five aforementioned industry sectors have been receiving wage below the City Minimum Wage.

"The regulation will rob laborers of their wage even worse. So, is the regulation a form of legalization of wage cuts, which already ongoing even way before today?" Emelia said.

A representative of the Confederation Congress of Indonesian Trade Union Alliance (KASBI) Sunarno, said that laborers working in the five affected industries have experienced substantial wage cuts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Some [laborers] were suspended, their wages not paid, some were paid not in accordance with the City Minimum Wage, and some even dismissed, which only make them more miserable," Sunarno said.

The DSS is an alliance of trade unions within the five industry sectors affected by the new Ministry of Manpower Regulation No. 5 of 2023. The DSS considered the new regulation as a serious violation of laborer's basic rights.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1705101/laborers-protest-over-regulated-wage-cut