Workers Reject Regional Wage System
Monday, 18 December, 2006 | 14:52 WIB

Tempo Interactive, Jakarta: Around 500 workers took part in a rally held by the Workers Criticism Alliance (ABM) joined in in front of the State Palace, Jalan Merdeka Utara, Jakarta, yesterday (16/12).

They demanded that the government get rid of the existing regional wage system and replace it with a national wage system.

“Revoke the regulations regarding about provincial and regency minimum wages and replace them with a national wage system,” Anwar Ma'ruf, ABM Coordinator, told Tempo.

A national wage system would eliminate many negative effects of regional wage system, according to Anwar.

One of these negative effects is large major urbanization to Jakarta.

“This is because salaries in Jakarta are higher than in the regions,” said Anwar, adding that a lot of workers move to Jakarta to obtain higher salaries.

He criticized the increase in provincial and regency minimum wages in Indonesia, which was only 10 percent.

The Jakarta provincial minimum wage rose from Rp819,000 to Rp900,000 per month, while the Tangerang regency minimum wage from Rp800,000 to Rp882,000 per month.
The national minimum wage, according to Anwar, should be Rp3.2 million per month.

“This is for all types of professions including farmers and drivers,” he said.

This amount was calculated based on the standard of proper living in Indonesia.

The rally participants were workers from Jakarta, Tangerang, Bekasi, Bogor and other cities.
They also demanded the government provide cheap education, health service and housing facilities for workers.

“Expensive education and health services show that the government is applying neo-liberalism policies,” said Alfa, a college student who joined in the rally.

Tito Sianipar
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