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Apindo calls on presidential hopefuls to address labor challenges in debate finale

Jakarta Globe - February 2, 2024

Alfida Rizky Febrianna, Jakarta – In the upcoming fifth and final presidential debate scheduled for Sunday, the Chairwoman of the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo), Shinta W Kamdani, calls on presidential candidates to prioritize addressing labor issues – from unemployment to minimum wage – to lead Indonesia towards advanced nation status by 2045.

"We have shared insights with presidential candidates, underlining the significance of commitment and political will to tackle labor challenges in Indonesia. Human capital development is pivotal for Indonesia's advancement by 2045," Shinta said in Jakarta on Thursday.

The final debate of the 2024 Presidential Election is set to feature the three candidates: Anies Baswedan, Prabowo Subianto, and Ganjar Pranowo, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024. The debate's themes encompass social welfare, culture, education, information technology, health, employment, human resources, and inclusion.

Shinta outlined several labor concerns that should be focal points for each presidential candidate, to be incorporated into the roadmap of future government policies.

Addressing the labor structure issue, Shinta emphasized the high percentage of the working-age population in Indonesia, with 68 percent unemployed and 69 percent working overtime for 35 hours.

"The labor structure in Indonesia demands attention. It's a massive challenge that the government should prioritize in the upcoming period," she remarked.

On the matter of linking education and industry, Shinta pointed out the misalignment between the education of many workers and the needs of the business and industrial sectors.

The issue of future job types was also raised, with Shinta expressing concerns about the evolving job landscape in Indonesia due to digitization and other factors.

Shinta evaluated that the workforce in Indonesia is predominantly composed of low-skilled workers. She stressed the need for the future government to facilitate the enhancement of workforce skills through reskilling and upskilling.

Shinta also addressed the matter of worker welfare and industrial relations between workers and employers, suggesting that government intervention is essential to foster more harmonious relationships.

Lastly, regarding the minimum wage for workers, Shinta urged the incoming government to make strides in encouraging regional governments to establish a reasonable provincial minimum wage for workers in their respective areas.

"When discussing the minimum wage, the formulas are already in place; it's a matter of consistency (from the central government) so that regional governments can follow suit," she explained.

"Concerns related to labor are crucial. Identifying areas that require improvement is our hope," she concluded.

According to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the workforce based on the National Labor Force Survey in August 2023 amounted to 147.71 million people, an increase of 3.99 million people compared to August 2022. The Open Unemployment Rate (TPT) in August 2023 was 5.32 percent, a decrease of 0.54 percentage points compared to August 2022.

The average wage for laborers from August 2022 to August 2023 increased by 3.50 percent, rising from Rp 3.07 million to Rp 3.18 million.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/business/apindo-calls-on-presidential-hopefuls-to-address-labor-challenges-in-debate-final