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Workers return to street to protest against jobs law, demand wage hike

Jakarta Post - November 2, 2020

Jakarta – Protests against the Job Creation Law have entered their fifth week in Jakarta as workers stage yet another rally near the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta to voice their opposition to the controversial law and the government's decision not to increase the minimum wage.

Protestors from 32 labor unions, such as the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI), All-Indonesia Workers Union Confederation (KSPSI) and the Indonesian Metal Workers Federation (FSPMI) flocked to Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat, located around 1 kilometer from the Palace, beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday.

They carried banners to voice their protest against the Job Creation Law.

"Revoke the omnibus law on job creation, it is worse than Law No. 13/2003 on Manpower. The law will only impoverish workers and make them suffer," one banner read.

They also demanded that the government raise minimum wages for 2021, after several provinces have announced to keep the wage floor unchanged in 2021 due to the country's difficult economic situation amid the coronavirus emergency.

KSPI chief Said Iqbal said the protests are carried out concurrently by labor unions in 24 provinces across the country. The protests in Jakarta on Monday would center around the Presidential Palace as well as the Constitutional Court, as the unions also plan to file a request for a judicial review against the law with the Constitutional Court.

"Our demand is for [the government] to revoke the jobs law and raise the 2021 minimum wage," Said was reported as saying by kompas.com.

There has been persistent protest against the jobs law since the House of Representatives (DPR) passed the legislation Oct. 5.

Critics have slammed the law, calling its rushed deliberation by the House "unconstitutional" and highlighting its effects on workers' welfare and environment protection.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has 30 days, or until Nov. 5, to approve the law.

However, despite calling the law necessary to make Indonesia's economy more competitive, particularly in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, he has yet to sign it.

Without Jokowi's signature, the law will go into effect automatically a month after its passage.

Said added that the unions planned to continue their protests on Nov. 9 and 10, which would be held in front of the House compound to push for a legislative review and to voice their demands for a wage hike.

Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus said he had deployed 7,766 security personnel to safeguard the rally in the capital city.

"We have prepared 7.766 personnel in two locations, we have also prepared another 8,000 for backup," Yusri said on Monday as reported by Kompas.com.

Yusri urged protesters to remain peaceful and comply with health protocol to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (nal)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/11/02/workers-return-to-street-to-protest-against-jobs-law-demand-wage-hike.htm