Three million workers across all sectors (mainly textiles) have begun a week-long strike to demand a nationwide pay rise of 50%, stricter rules on outsourcing, and universal health cover. Indonesia’s economy grew by 6% last year and the workers want a bigger piece of the pie. A group of 37 huge companies – mainly in the textile industry – have submitted a statement to the government demanding no wage increases in 2014, or they will close their factories and leave the country.
A spokesperson for the workers said that:
“Many workers can no longer afford to pay the rent and live under bridges or even the sewers. Instead of rice, they are forced to eat pre-cooked spaghetti. We have worked a lot to help the economic recovery, why are we being trampled on?”
Record levels of inflation have seen the price of basic commodities almost double, with the price of fuel increasing by 44% in 2013 alone. The Indonesia economy is growing at some of the highest levels in the region which has enabled many multinational corporations to make many billions of dollars profit over the last few years, but they are fighting tooth and nail to try and prevent ordinary Indonesians – who are the lowest paid textile workers in the region - from getting any benefit from their labour.
The government will make their final decision on whether there will be any pay increases, on November the 1st. In the meantime they are being put under lots of pressure from the gangsters who run the sweatshops to offer nothing otherwise they will take their business to other Asian countries where they can pay less.
Solidarity with all workers on strike in Indonesia!