A Closer Look

Labour Day | Indonesia stages Asia’s biggest rally

Thousands of Indonesian workers held Asia’s biggest May Day rally on Tuesday, demanding better pay and protection of job security, watched warily by a heavy police and army presence.

Colourful protests organised by trades unions and left-wing parties across Asia shared the theme of better pay and conditions, and denunciations of government policy, as living costs spike in fast-growing economies.

Carrying banners saying “raise our salaries” and “stop outsourcing contracts”, more than 9,000 workers gathered at Jakarta’s main roundabout before marching to the state palace.

Around 16,000 police and soldiers were deployed to guard the protest, Jakarta police spokesman Rikwanto told reporters.

“Living costs have gone up but our salaries remain unchanged. We only make enough to eat but there is no money in the bank, no money for our children’s education,” protest leader Muhamad Rusdi told AFP.

“There’s also no job security. Jobs like telemarketing and production of goods such as electronics are outsourced (to contractors),” he complained. “We always live in fear of losing our jobs.”

Indonesia’s parliament in March rejected a plan to hike the country’s heavily subsidised fuel price by a third, after protests in Jakarta that saw demonstrators hurl stones and police retaliate with tear gas and water cannon…

Source:

AFP: Indonesia stages Asia’s biggest Labour Day rally.

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