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Solo workers commemorate May Day by 'destroying the walls of capital'

CyberNews - May 1, 2011

Solo Ė Commemorating International Labour Day on May 1, two protest actions were held by workers and students in the Central City of Solo on Sunday.

During a demonstration led by students from the Surakarta (Solo) Muhammadiyah University (MS) and the Solo Solidarity Trade Union Federation (FSBSK), the protesters deplored employers and the government for failing to pay heed to the fate of workers.

They also held a theatrical action at the UMS campus intersection on Jl. Ahmad Yani depicting the suffering of Indonesian workers. "Mercy boss, mercy boss. We're working as hard as we can", cried Sutanto, Ipung and Tri Purwanto as they played the part of workers while Iwan Setiawan, who was portrayed as an employer trampled on their heads.

During the action the protesters read out a number of demands including rejecting contract labour or outsourcing, called for a decent wage for workers in line with the reasonable living cost index (KHL) and criticised labour laws for failing to side with workers.

The action descended into chaos when a scuffle broke out with police after demonstrators destroyed a theatrical prop in the form of a two-metre high bamboo cone-shaped building symbolising the employers' empire. "Destroy the capitalists' walls, destroy them", said one of the demonstrators as they shouted long live workers and argued with police.

Separately, around 50 workers from the Surakarta city and Sukoharjo regency branches of National Trade Union (SPN) held a demonstration at the Gladag traffic circle demanding justice for workers. Emphasising four points, the workers rejected outsourcing system, demanding a reasonable wage, called for revisions to the Ministry of Labour Regulation Number 17/2004 and the upholding of labour laws, which they said employers and the government had failed to address to this day.

"[Wages] in Solo and surrounding areas are still not adequate, employees' wages are only 826,000 rupiah per month. When we conducted a survey in later March 2010 in cooperation with the AKKK (Occupational Health and Safety Program, AK3) it [should] be at least 1,400,000 rupiah per month. Bearing in mind the increasing cost of living", said SPN Sukoharjo chairperson Kuwadi Mulyadi. (Asep Abdullah/CN26/JBSM)

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski.]

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