Defara Dhanya Paramitha, Jakarta – The President of the Labor Party and the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI), Said Iqbal, said that workers were determined to stage a wave of demonstrations across the archipelago from October 27, 2023, to January 30, 2024.
Today's rally will bring two demands: a 15 percent increase in the 2024 minimum wage and an immediate end to the Israel-Hamas war.
"The action will start at the UN Office in Jakarta at 10 a.m. and continue to the Merdeka Palace on Friday, October 27," Said Iqbal said in a press statement on Thursday, October 26.
He said the mass of workers came from the capital city, West Java, and Banten. Workers from other regions would lead the rally in front of the respective governor's offices.
Said Iqbal explained the reasons why workers are demanding a 15 percent wage hike. One of them is Indonesia's status as an upper-middle-income country. "With a gross national income in the range of US$4,500 (which is equivalent to a wage of Rp5.6 million per month), Jakarta's minimum wage should have been raised by Rp700,000 per month," he pointed out.
He also mentioned the increase in wages for civil servants and military/police personnel by eight percent and retirees by 12 percent. He rejected that the increase in the minimum wage for workers as taxpayers is smaller compared to those who are paid through taxes. "So, the increase in workers' wages must be 15 percent or higher than that of civil servants," he said.
Additionally, surveys found that the cost of having a decent living increases by an average of 12-15 percent. Said also highlighted the surge in food prices, such as rice, which has risen by up to 40 percent.
Aside from minimum wage, workers also called for an end to the violence in Gaza. The Labor Party, Said went on, has always been committed to peace and resolving conflicts through negotiation and dialogue.
"All problems must be resolved at the negotiating table by following the UN resolution on Palestinian independence. The Labor Party supports Palestinian independence without resorting to war," he stressed.
Said Iqbal also called on the UN to take steps by holding a trial to recognize Palestinian independence. "We also urge the US not to send aircraft carriers and troops to Israel as this will aggravate the war. All problems must be resolved peacefully and through negotiations," he concluded.