INDONESIA: Nationwide strike pushes for higher wages
Workers across Indonesia took part in a two-day national strike at the end of last week, demanding higher salaries, health insurance and an end to what they describe as outsourcing violations.
The strike on Thursday and Friday (31 October and 1 November) was expected to attract more than 3m workers from 20 provinces, although local news reports claim fewer than 50,000 people took part.
The action covers a range of industries and occupations, including teaching, factory, airport, port and transport workers.
Indonesian trade unions are calling for a 50% rise in the minimum salary, and the introduction of laws to protect domestic workers.
"Employers are exploiting the millions of vulnerable workers with low wages, insecure employment contracts and lack of adequate health insurance," said Said Iqbal, president of the IndustriAll global union affiliate FSPMI and the Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KSPI).
He added: "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."
Strikes organised last year by Indonesian unions led to a to 44% hike in the minimum monthly wage in the capital Jakarta and its surrounding region from January of this year.
The increase to IDR2.2m (US$229) from IDR1.5m (US$156) was described as "illogical" by the Indonesian Textile Association (API), which argued the country's garment and textile industry would be hit hard by the hike.
However, unions say the wage increases fell well short of a decent wage and that new regulations on labour outsourcing have not yet been implemented.
Indonesia has 2,869 textile and garment factories which employ 1.4m people, according to the API.
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