Jakarta – Labor unions and civil society organizations across the archipelago have staged nationwide protests and strikes to oppose the newly passed Job Creation Law, demanding the House of Representatives revoke the controversial law feared to infringe on workers' rights.
The Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) said that around 2 million workers representing 32 labor unions would take part in mass rallies and strikes in various cities for several days.
"Workers from various sectors, such as textiles, mining, electronics, pharmaceuticals, tourism, logistics and other sectors, will stage protests in Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Cilegon, Purwakarta, Semarang, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Aceh, Medan, Deli Serdang, Batam, Pekanbaru, Palembang and other cities," KSPI president Said Iqbal said in a statement on Monday.
Thousands of workers in Pulogadung Industrial Complex in East Jakarta staged a protest opposing the jobs law in front of their respective factories on Tuesday morning.
"Workers in Pulogadung agreed to skip working today to show support for [movements] against the Job Creation Law. We planned to stage rallies in front of our factories and on roads in the Pulogadung area until Thursday," protest coordinator Hilman Firmansyah said as reported by kompas.com.
Thousands of workers from factories in Karawang, West Java, also staged protests in front of their factories to oppose the law on Tuesday.
The workers opted to conduct sporadic protests in order to limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission during the rallies, especially since many virus clusters have emerged in Karawang industrial areas.
They also limited the number of people participating in the protests and ensured that protestors wore masks and maintained physical distance.
In Bandung, West Java, thousands of workers from various labor unions rallied at the Bandung Legislative Council compound and City Hall on Tuesday morning.
The protestors, carrying umbrellas and wearing masks, sat on the road while voicing their concerns over the impact of the law on their working conditions.
Dozens of workers under the Central Java Federation of Trade Unions (KSPN) opted to stage a protest in front of their office in Semarang, Central Java on Tuesday.
KSPN head Nanang Setyono said despite workers under the labor group having decided not to hold a strike, they would still oppose the law through legal process.
"We're planning to file a judicial review against the omnibus law with the Constitutional Court," Nanang said.
The Jakarta Police had deployed 2,300 personnel around the House compound in Senayan, Central Jakarta to anticipate rallies.
The Jakarta police had previously refused to issue permits for protests and rallies over concern for COVID-19 transmission.
The House and the government on Monday passed into law the contentious omnibus bill on job creation, sooner than its original plan to enact the bill on Thursday.
Despite mounting objections over fears it would negatively impact the environment and labor rights, the government continued to insist that the law was necessary to improve bureaucratic efficiency in order to boost business and investment. (nal)