Yuli Tri Suwarni, Bandung -- Thousands of workers from across West Java
staged a rally in Bandung on Tuesday protesting a plan to revise Law No
13/2003 on manpower, claiming it was planned to enhance the investment
climate by satisfying businesspeople while sacrificing workers' rights.
The protest was held during a visit to Bandung made by Manpower and
Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar to officially launch the one-
million job creation program in the province.Arriving on motorbikes and in trucks from the Bandung area, Sumedang,
Purwakarta, Karawang and Bekasi, demonstrators blocked Jl. Diponegoro,
which connects the provincial legislative building and the governor's
office at the Gasibu Square where the launching ceremony was held.
The draft revision would cut the lump sum severance for dismissed employees
down from the present level of nine times their monthly salary to only
seven months compensation, rally coordinator Roy Jinto Ferianto said. "We
will fight very hard to reject it," he said.
The Tuesday protest went peacefully, with personnel from the Bandung Police
standing guard. The protesters were not able to directly convey their
message to the minister or the governor.
Muhaimin, who refused to meet worker representatives, said it would require
a long process before revisions to the law could be made, but added that
inputs from workers and businesspeople were still being considered.
"Revision is a long-term process which needs to be done to eliminate labor
difficulties while at the same time developing a better business climate,"
Muhaimin said. Muhaiman called on workers not to worry, adding that his
ministry would soon issue an outsourcing regulation to ensure their
protection and welfare.