Thousands of workers to protest against Indonesia's labour, wage rules

Labourers calling for a living wage take part in a rally outside the Parliament in Jakarta on Oct 2, 2019.
Labourers calling for a living wage take part in a rally outside the Parliament in Jakarta on Oct 2, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) - Thousands of workers plan to carry out protests against Indonesia's labour, wage and health insurance regulations, which they say are discriminatory, raising fresh risks for the stability of South-east Asia's largest economy.

Around 50,000 workers will join the protest in front of the Parliament building in Jakarta on Wednesday (Oct 2), according to Said Iqbal, president of the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI).

Protests will also take place in nine other cities and towns across the country, Iqbal said by phone, putting the total participant estimate at 150,000.

The workers will voice their objection to existing wage calculation policy and the planned increase of health insurance premiums.

The protests come two days after Iqbal and Andi Gani Nena Wea, president of the Confederation of All Indonesian Workers' Union or KSPSI, met President Joko Widodo.

In a statement released by the president's press office, Iqbal said the unions and government would discuss the labour and wage regulations in a team and that they fully supported the administration.

"We had a long discussion," Jokowi, as Mr Joko is known, said.

"We talked about how we build good investment climate and those related to labour," the president said, noting he would consider their feedback.

Indonesia has been rocked by protests, some deadly, since May, following the presidential election held in April.


Demonstrations were also held in Papua and West Papua provinces, triggered by racial tensions.

The latest protests saw students taking to the streets in Jakarta and other cities in September, opposing the revised anti-corruption law and the planned changes of criminal code.

Jakarta police spokesman Argo Juwono said the police would deploy 6,000 personnel to maintain security during the KSPI's protest and put the protesters' figure at 6,000-7,000.