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Prabowo linked trade union claims workers had more rights under Suharto dictatorship

RMOL - September 28, 2018

Adityo Nugroho – A trade union leader linked to presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto says he regrets the issuance of Government Regulation Number 78/2015 on Wages because it abolishes trade union's right to negotiate wage increases.

"As a result of PP 78/2015, trade unions have no right to negotiate", said Indonesian Employees Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) chairperson Said Iqbal in a discussion titled Development in the Interests of the People Vs IMF and World Bank Neoliberal Development, at the House of Representatives (DPR) complex in Senayan, Jakarta, on Friday September 28.

According to Said, the abolition of trade union's right to negotiate followed pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. This pressure, he added, threatens workers' lives and the national economy.

He then made a comparison with the era of former president Suharto's New Order dictatorship. Said said that during the Suharto era, which is referred to as being authoritarian, trade union's rights to negotiate were not abolished.

Back then, he added, Suharto established the Wage Council, which although it was deemed by workers to be authoritarian, at least the right to negotiate still existed. This is unlike the era of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo where workers have been given no space to negotiate wage rises.

"Although before there was the Wage Council and we saw it as authoritarian, at least the right to negotiate still existed. But now it has been abolished", he explained. (ian)


On May Day this year, Said Iqbal and the KSPI officially declared their support for former Special Forces (Kopassus) commander and Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) chairperson retired General Prabowo Subianto in the 2019 presidential election. In 2014 they also backed Prabowo's failed 2014 presidential bid and in 2017 they supported the Prabowo backed Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno ticket in the religious and ethnically divisive Jakarta elections. This included taking part in protests by hard-line Islamic forces seeking to oust incumbent Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama – an ethnic Chinese Christian – who lost the election to Baswedan and was subsequently jailed on trumped up blasphemy charges.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was KSPI: Buruh Bisa Berunding Upah Di Era Soeharto, Tidak Di Bawah Jokowi.]

Source: https://politik.rmol.co/read/2018/09/28/359517/KSPI:-Buruh-Bisa-Berunding-Upah-Di-Era-Soeharto,-Tidak-Di-Bawah-Jokowi-.

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