8 July 2009

East Java trade unions agree to boycott presidential election

Surya Daily Online - July 6, 2009

Judi Prasetyo, Jombang -- Workers from the Independent Indonesian National Front for Labour Struggle (FNPBI-Independen) have agreed to boycott the coming July 8 presidential elections by not using their right to vote or to golput. The agreement was kindled during a mass meeting held in the auditorium of the Youth Social Development Building in Jombang, East Java, on Sunday July 5.

The workers were doubtful because the presidential and vice presidential candidates that have emerged have already failed workers in holding the reigns of leadership. “All of them are [members of] the political elite who were once in government and all of them have failed fight for workers”, asserted East Java FNPBI-Independent coordinator Afik Irwanto.

During the meeting -- which was also attended by a number of other Jombang trade unions -- FNPBI-Independent warned workers not to be easily deceived or be put to sleep by the presidential candidates’ promises.

In addition to this, the workers also made six demands on the government. These were in the form of guarantees of the workers insurance scheme (Jamsostek), holiday bonuses, decent overtime wages, increases in the regional minimum wage, the abolition of contract labour and outsourcing and the freedom to organise.

“This is what we must continue to struggle for”, asserted Irwanto, who was spontaneously elected as the group’s spokesperson along with two other people from the East Java Labour Alliance.

According to Irwanto, the character of the presidential tickets of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono-Boediono, Megawati Sukarnoputri-Prabowo Subianto as well as Jusuf Kalla-Wiranto are clearly the same was they were in the previous era. By way of example, it was precisely when former president Megawati was in power that contract labour and outsourcing systems were put into place through Law Number 13, 2003 on Labour.

Juir, from the education division of the East Java Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance (KASBI) said that up until now there has yet to be a leadership figure that could become a motor for the labour struggle in
Indonesia. “So, our [choice] to golput has a clear aim,” asserted the man with a closely shaven head. (st8)


Golput - Golongan putih or white movement meaning not to mark the ballot paper (leave it blank) or abstain from voting.

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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