Indonesian Jobs Creation Law threatens labour rights say trade unions

Workers across Indonesia have been protesting and staging mass rallies, demanding that the Law be cancelled

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Thousands of workers across Indonesia have been staging rallies against the Job Creation Law, which the trade unions feel go against labour rights and will render environmental protections weak.

Students and workers have been asking for the Job Creation Law to be cancelled and demanding increments in the minimum wage next year. The unions are requesting the Constitutional Court for a judicial review of the new law, which received the Parliament’s approval early last month. The Law, if implemented, will alter the labour system of Indonesia and the whole management of natural resources in the country.

It is the result of the amendment of 79 old laws and is aimed to make the bureaucracy more efficient so that the country is able to attract more foreign investment.

The law will decrease severance pay, do away with restrictions on manual labour by foreign workers, encourage outsourcing and also push conversion of monthly salaries to hourly wages.

However, the new labour laws are business friendly according to President Joko Widodo, who is focussing on economic reforms.

According to the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI), protests are being staged in West and East Java provinces, with participation from about 32 labour unions. Workers have also been staging protests outside the Presidential Palace and the Constitutional Court in Jakarta. There have been agitations in Medan, Makassar, Yogyakarta and Banda Aceh too.