JAKARTA, Indonesia — Workers in Indonesia marked international
About 50,000 workers from 3,000 companies and factories were expected to take part in traditional May Day marches in 200 cities and districts in Southeast Asia's largest economy, said Said Iqbal, the president of the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions. However, most rallies are held outside factories or company compounds with strict health protocols, Iqbal said.
Elsewhere in the region, police in the Philippine capital of Manila prevented hundreds of workers belonging to left-wing groups from holding a May Day rally at a public plaza, said protest leader Renato Reyes. A monthlong coronavirus lockdown there has been extended by two weeks amid an alarming surge.
In Taipei City in Taiwan, hundreds of protesters marched in the streets to ask for better salaries and more secure pensions. Most protesters wore face masks to protect themselves from the virus.
In Indonesia's capital of Jakarta, the epicenter of the national epidemic, authorities have warned
Enraged over the new Job Creation Law, several hundred workers gathered near the national monument, waving colorful flags of
“The Job Creation Law has incredibly buried our hope of a better future,” said Riden Hatam Aziz, one of the organizers. They later marched to the
The demonstrators say the law will hurt workers by reducing severance pay, removing restrictions on manual
President Joko Widodo signed the law in November despite days of protests in many Indonesian cities that turned violent weeks earlier. The act amended 77 previous laws and was intended to improve bureaucratic efficiency as part of efforts by Widodo’s administration to attract more investment.
The Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions and dozens of other organizations have filed a legal challenge against the Job Creation Law with the
“The difficult situation could lead to more strikes and protests this year,” Iqbal, the president of the trade unon group, said.
Television reports showed hundreds of workers rallying in several other cities, including Makassar. They shouted demands for a raise in minimum wage and relaxed outsourcing rules.
In Manila, protesters gathered briefly at a busy boulevard demanding pandemic cash aid, wage subsidies and COVID-19 vaccines amid rising unemployment and hunger. Some opted to stage protest motorcades to avoid infections.
“Workers were largely left to fend for themselves while being locked down,”
A food delivery driver present at Saturday's protest said the pay per delivery had been cut several times, with some platforms even offering fluctuating rates, making it hard to make money. One supermarket employee said she had not seen a pay raise for several consecutive years, even though sales have been growing.
The protest lasted about two hours and led the marchers to the parliament.
Associated Press writers Edna Tarigan in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines and Taijing Wu in Taipei, Taiwan contributed to this report.
Niniek Karmini And Andi Jatmiko, The Associated Press