Thursday, September 21, 2006

Workers demand minimum wage

The Jakarta Post

City News - September 11, 2006

JAKARTA: Some 500 workers staged a demonstration Sunday in front of the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta to demand a national minimum wage.

Several labor unions, including the Civil Indonesian Workers Union, Alliance of Indonesian Labor Unions Congress, Tangerang Labor Union Communication Forum and Jabodetabek Labor Union, took part in the rally under the banner of the Alliance of Protesting Workers (ABM).

ABM chairman Anwar Ma'ruf, in a speech during the rally, demanded the central government set a national minimum wage and reject the outsourcing system outlined in a proposed amendment to the 2003 Labor Law.

Currently the country has regional minimum wages. The highest monthly minimum wage is in Jakarta, but it is still below Rp 900,000 (US$97).

ABM group coordinator Ilhamsyah said an appropriate national minimum wage would be around Rp 1.5 million per month.

Anwar said that if the government ignored the workers demand, they would call for a national strike.

The workers, wearing red t-Shirts and carrying posters and banners with slogans such as "Cheap Wage, No" and "Say No to New Form of Colonialism", began the demonstration at 11 a.m. in front of the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle. They then marched to the Presidential Palace.

The protesters, under the watchful eyes of three companies of riot police, disbanded at 4 p.m. -- JP

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