Muhajir, Jakarta – Hundreds of workers from the Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance Confederation (KASBI) held a protest action in front of the House of Representatives (DPR) in Jakarta coinciding with the end of the parliament's recess period on Monday January 13.
They gathered to convey their opposition to the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation or RUU Cilaka.
"Don't trick people with the word 'Job Creation Law'. This law absolutely does not side with workers. We must mobilise around the ideals of taking power, prosperity for the people", said labour representative Suherman in a speech.
Another speaker meanwhile called on the police not to protect employers saying many police at the moment in fact protect corporations who violate workers' rights.
"We ask that the police not protect employers. You're paid to protect the people, not employers", said Dahlan from the command vehicle.
The protesters began gathering at 12 noon to articulate their demands. They could be seen bringing banners with messages such as "Indonesia belongs to the ordinary people, it doesn't belong to investors" and "Workers reject the draft Job Creation Law (RUU Celaka)".
Four huge banners were also placed in front of the DPR building's front gates rejecting the Omnibus Law on Job Creation and calling on all workers in Indonesia to voice their opposition to the law.
Workers Movement with the People (Gebrak) spokesperson Ilhamsyah meanwhile referred to law as the "RUU Celaka" or "Draft Disaster Law" as it will severely harm workers because it has been drafted to benefit employers.
Ilhamsyah explained that the concept of "easy to hire, easy to fire" in the RUU Celaka will impoverish Indonesian workers by abolishing employment guarantees. "Comrades, this RUU will protect employers who commit violations against labour", he said.
Ilhamsyah said that the workers at the protest came from a variety of different backgrounds. They came from the garment, textile, manufacturing, automotive, mining, media, banking, hospital and creative industries which have a trade union membership base in Java, Sumatra and other parts of the country.
The action was also joined by farmer, student, youth, women's and civil society organisations.
As well as KASBI, also taking part in the action was the Confederation of United Indonesian Workers (KPBI), the National Labour Movement Centre (SGBN), the National Trade Union Confederation (KSN), the Indonesian Seafarers Movement (PPI), the Banking Trade Union Communication Network (Jarkom SP Perbankan), the Media and Creative Industries Trade Union for Democracy (SINDIKASI), United People's Struggle (KPR) and the Indonesian Dock Workers Federation (FPPI).
As of 4 pm, the majority of protesters were still demonstrating and giving speeches in front of the DPR. They were also waiting for representatives from the respective labour organisations to be chosen to hold an audience with DPR members. (EP)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Gara-Gara 'RUU Celaka', Buruh Demo DPR".]