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Workers organise to demand wage increase, reduction in prices

Koran Kaltim - July 14, 2008

Samarinda – Hundreds of workers from the East Kalimantan National Liberation Front (FPN) in the provincial city of Samarinda plan to take to the streets again to day, Monday July 14, to demand that the regional minimum wage be raised to 1.3 million rupiah per month. They will also be demanding that the government reduce the price of basic commodities (sembako) and fuel.

The action will be held at around 9am today and mobilise 587 people from 32 trade unions, student movement groups and social organisations. They will begin the demonstration by gathering at the Karang Asam soccer field on Jl. Slamet Riyadi then organise a convoy to the East Kalimantan Regional House of Representatives building in Karang Paci Samarinda.

“Our action is still demanding a [new] decree on the provincial minimum wage and a reduction in the price of basic commodities and fuel. We will not stop holding actions until our demands and the struggle for workers’ rights are met,” said East Kalimantan FPN action coordinator Romanus when speaking with Koran Kaltim yesterday.

The labour organisations that plan to take part in the action include the Indonesian Independent Trade Union (SBMI), the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (KSBI), OSKM Sumalindo, the Trade Union of Struggle (SBP), the Chemical, Entergy and Mining Trade Union (SP-KEP), the Politics for the Poor-Indonesian National Front for Labour Struggle (FNPBI-PRM), the All Indonesia Trade Union-PPM, the Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance (KASBI), the Workers Challenge Alliance (ARM) and the Working People’s Association (PRP).

Meanwhile the student groups that plan to be involved in the action include, among others, the Politics for the Poor-National Student League for Democracy (LMND-PRM), the Polnes Student Executive Council (BEM), the Samarinda PC Indonesian Islamic Students Movement (PMII), the Uwigama BEM, the Mulawarman University Faculty of Social and Political Science BEM and the State College of Islamic Religious Studies BEM.

Also planning to take part in the action is the Urban Poor Grouping (KMK), the East Kalimantan Urban Poor Union (SRMK), the Residential Councils Social Forum (FMWM), the United Forum of Sudut Sungkai Residents (FPWSS), the Bamboo House Community (KRB), the Odah Etam Street Traders and the Perempuan Mahardika (Independent Women’s) National Network (JNPM).

“As many as 32 trade unions and social organisations together with student groups have committed themselves to fight for workers’ rights and entitlements, particularly the minimum regional wage that must be raised from 815,000 to 1.3 million [rupiah per month],” said Romanus.

In addition to this, workers will also be demanding the dissolution of the East Kalimantan Provincial Wage Council (DPP) and its replacement with a Council of Workers. This is because the DPP has failed to fight for or represent the interests of workers. “We consider that the system used by the DPP is out of date,” Romanus asserted.

Romanus explained that the demand for a higher minimum provincial wage is based on the Proper Necessities of Life (KHL) standard in accordance with inflation data from the East Kalimantan Central Statistics Agency. The groups will continue consolidating their campaign with workers in the factories, the mining sector and shopping centres (malls) and will be calling on them to take strike action if their demands are not met. (ca)

[Translated by James Balowski. Koran Kaltim – East Kalimantan Daily Newspaper.]

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