Hundreds of thousands of Indonesian workers started a two-day national strike today demanding the government institute a fair minimum wage, end rampant employer violations of labor outsourcing and speed up implementation of a universal health care law. Several unions conducted rallies over the three days leading up to the national mobilization to increase public awareness of the effort.
Union workers also are calling for passage of a national law protecting domestic worker rights and repeal of a recently passed law widely criticized for its apparent aim to restrict the freedoms of civil society organizations.
Speaking on behalf of a coalition of unions participating in the action, Indonesian Trade Union Confederation president Said Iqbal said,”We have been compelled to take to the streets since the government and employers have been unwilling to seek solutions to these issues with us in good faith.”
Indonesian unions also held a national strike in October 2012, pushing similar demands. Policymakers took swift action to engage labor leaders to find solutions in the days and weeks following that strike. Provincial minimum wages, for example, were increased around the country by an average of 30 percent and a new regulation on labor outsourcing was issued that largely met union demands.
Unions say that last year’s wage increases, although significant, fell well short of a decent wage and that the new labor outsourcing regulation has not yet been implemented.