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Strike action still lively, Tangerang paralyzed

Media Indonesia - 23 April, 1997

Jakarta – A strike wave since yesterday is continuing in Tangerang and Jakarta. The economic wheels of Tangerang city, Tuesday morning, were suddenly paralyzed.

Banks and offices were closed for three hours because 10,000 workers from the shoe factory PT Hasi held a rally from their place of work to the local parliament, around seven kilometers away.

They were demanding [do be paid] the new increase in the Regional Minimum Wage (UMR) and attendance bonuses. PT Hasi is one of the companies which has asked the Department of Labour to be excepted from the new UMR.

The closing of business activity particularly in the streets passed by the strikers was because of concern that workers would cause a riot. There fears certainly had good grounds. After waving scores of posters filled with their demands that their company pay the new UMR quickly, they blocked and disturbed the road users.

Fortunately, police and military personnel helped by and riot police kept control of the situation.

A day before, 2,000 employees (Media 22/4) of the shoe factory also held a strike, but only on the factory grounds. There demands were the same.

News of the strike had in fact been broadcast since Monday afternoon. The Tangerang major had requested that the issue be resolved in the factory, but it could not be stemmed. They started the rally at 7.30am with their procession reaching more than one kilometre. Because it was at the same time the morning rush hour, it caused the traffic in Tangerang to be totally blocked.

Two fire trucks were prepared although in the end they were not utilised. After negotiations which continued for two hours, one of the directors, Fredy Yulianto, agreed that the company would accept the employees demands, that is the new UMR of 172,500 Rupiah per month along with an attendance bonus of 4,000 Rupiah per week.

Yesterday, around 5,000 employees of four companies in West Java also carried out a strike. Workers from PT Winner Synthetic Textile (WST), PT Progres, and PT Sumber Bintang Rejeki (SBR) – three garment companies under the Winner Group – along with the garment company PT Mulia Knitting Factory (MKF), are continuing to strike because their demands have not been fulfilled by the company. In East Jakarta, hundreds of employees of the electronics company PT Samsung went on strike yesterday, demanding the new UMR. The workers were disappointed because other worker rights had been ignored by the company.

[Abridged translation from Media Indonesia - James Balowski]