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Workers call for cancelation of ASEAN-China free trade agreement

VIVAnews - May 1, 2011

A workers action commemorating International Labour Day or May Day at the House of Representatives (DPR) in Jakarta also demanded the cancelation of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA).

"Cancel the free trade agreement with China (ACFTA), because it is paralysing the people's economy in all sectors of the economy", said National Labour Union (SPN) central leadership board chairperson Bambang Wirahyoso during the action on Sunday.

In addition to demanding the cancelation of the ACFTA, the protesting workers at the DPR also called for the immediate ratification of the Social Insurance Management Agency (BPJS) law and the eradication of the judicial mafia in the Supreme Court, particularly in relation to industrial relations cases.

A short time ago Industry Minister MS Hidayat reported that the free trade deal with China had resulted in a 25 percent decline in domestic production. Factors such as the un-readiness of local employers, particularly in relation to product competitiveness, were cited as one of the causes. Rampant smuggling is damaging domestic markets.

[Abridged translation by James Balowski.]

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