Around three million workers in 20 Indonesian provinces will join national strikes on Thursday and Friday in support of improved welfare conditions.
Said Iqbal, the president of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union, said in a press release that hundreds of thousands of companies in forty industrial regions would cease production during the stoppage.
“There’s no political motive in this national strike,” he said. “Worker unions are purely fighting for the welfare of the workers.”
Said said that the unions were demanding an average national wage increase by 50 percent. In Jakarta, they were expecting the minimum wage to be set at Rp 3.7 million ($334).
Apart from wages, workers are demanding universal health coverage for all Indonesians by Jan. 1, 2014 and for the elimination of outsourcing.
Muhammad Toha, the secretary general of the Jakarta Workers Forum, said that workers started rallying on Monday. On Tuesday, he said, laborers in Jakarta would protest at City Hall.
Toha said that even though the national strike would not turn ugly, it might paralyze traffic in the capital.
Franky Sibarani, deputy general secretary of Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo), said that it would be acceptable for workers to join the national strike as long as it was conducted in a peaceful manner.
“Most of those who join these strikes are factory workers, and not all of the workers will be involved,” Franky said. “As for us, it’s happened frequently enough that we’ve gotten used to it.”
He said that he expected the government to be consistent and not make any decisions purely based on demonstrations.