Unions are calling on Indonesia to increase its minimum wage by 2.6%

Unions are calling on Indonesia to increase its minimum wage by 2.6%

Unions are urging the Indonesian government to return to the bargaining table to increase the country's minimum wage.

At a joint press conference in Jakarta yesterday (4 February), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and IndustriAll general secretaries Sharan Burrow and Jyrki Raina called on the government to increase the minimum wage by 2.6%, and all wages for 2016 by IDR500.000 (US$36).

The current minimum wage ranges from US$103 to $224 per month, which the unions say is "too low to cover the basic needs of workers and their families".

The visit of the two global union leaders followed the signing of regulation No.78/2015 on Wage Determination in October last year by Indonesia's government, which the unions claim denies workers a collective voice in the annual wage negotiation process. The regulation, they say, limits minimum wage increases to an accumulation of the annual inflation rate and GDP growth figure.

"We urge the Indonesian government to reconsider and bring back trade unions into the minimum wage setting process," said Burrow. "Without decent living conditions for workers, and wages on which people can live with dignity, economies will not grow."

The unions are urging the government to withdraw government regulation on minimum wage no 78/2015, which they say is in opposition to labour law no 13/2003, act no 88 & 89. They are also calling for the inclusion of 84 items instead of 60 in the decent living cost standard.

"A living wage is a win-win solution both for the workers and their families, and for the economy through increased purchasing power, economic growth and the creation of new jobs," said Raina.

The call follows a similar one by unions in April last year, urging rejection of government plans to only raise the minimum wage of workers every five years. The Indonesian government had drawn up a national development plan for 2011-25, known as MP3EI, but unions said they had not been consulted and were largely unaware of it.

Indonesia's minimum wage plan "should be rejected"