Indonesian workers vent anger on May Day at new law they say harms their rights

(1 May 2024)

Jakarta, Indonesia – 1 May 2024
1. Indonesian workers marching through the streets of Jakarta
2. Workers marching while carrying large banner reading (Indonesian) "May Day 2024 – Revoke Omnibus Law, Create Jobs"
3. Various of workers marching
4. Various of speaker addressing crowd from vehicle
5. Various of demonstrators
6. SOUNDBITE (Indonesian) Isbandi Anggono, demonstrating worker:
"Since the Omnibus Law (Job Creation Law) was passed, many people have been degraded. With the enactment of this law, the fate of workers has become uncertain because many problems arise particularly in wages, severance pay and the contract system, where in the Omnibus Law the contract is expanded to five years."
7. Demonstrators with flags and signs
8. SOUNDBITE (Indonesian) Mia Khairunnisa, demonstrating worker:
"I hope the new leaders can listen more to our aspirations where many workers are still not prosperous because of the low wages, legalized outsourcing and lack of job security."
9. Workers setting off coloured smoke flares from top of vehicle
10. SOUNDBITE (Indonesian) Isbandi Anggono, demonstrating worker:
"We ask the government to listen to our aspirations this time. Don’t let us continue to take to the streets because we are tired, but we will still have to continue fighting for this as long as we don’t get the workers’ rights that we should get."
11. Various of workers marching streets
Tens of thousands of workers in Indonesia vented their anger on Wednesday at a law they say harms their rights and welfare as they marked International Workers’ Day.

About 50,000 workers from Jakarta’s satellite cities of Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi were expected to join May Day marches in the capital, said Said Iqbal, the president of the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions.

They gathered amid a tight police presence near the National Monument park, waving the colourful flags of labour groups and chanting slogans against the Job Creation Law and loosened outsourcing rules during a march to Jakarta’s main sports stadium, Gelora Bung Karno.

“With the enactment of this law, the fate of workers has become uncertain because many problems arise particularly in wages, severance pay and the contract system,” said Isbandi Anggono, a protester.

Indonesia’s parliament last year ratified a government regulation that replaces a controversial law on job creation, but critics said it still benefits businesses.

The law was intended to cut bureaucracy as part of President Joko Widodo’s efforts to attract more investment to the country, which is Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

Nearly 4,000 police and soldiers were deployed to secure the capital.

Television reports showed thousands of workers rallying in several other cities, including Surabaya, Bandung, Medan and Makassar.

They called for a raise in minimum wage and protection for migrant workers abroad.

AP video shot by: Fadlan Syam


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