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Trade unions in Indonesia demand right to be heard

Trade unions in Indonesia want the abolishment of a new law that has eliminated unions’ role in setting the minimum wage and resulted in low pay increases for workers.

Previously, a tripartite body of local government, employers and labor unions determined the minimum wage in each region every year, based on standard living costs.

However, the new legislation has ended workers’ involvement in setting the minimum wage and is based on inflation rates and economic growth. It ignores the regional wage councils, placing all power with the regional governor.

Consequently wage increases for workers in 2017 have been extremely low. Wages in Indonesia are poor. Workers want a judicial review of the law in the Supreme Court.

The lack of participation of unions in setting the minimum wage has had an adverse effect on the minimum wage at the regional level, thus keeping wages far behind in relation to the rate of growth of the economy.

Trade unions say the government is putting business first rather than workers’ welfare. They want to be included in setting the minimum wage, in accordance with the employment law in the country and ILO conventions on freedom of association and the right to organize.