Tens of thousands of factory workers took part in a national strike across Indonesia on Wednesday, demanding higher wages, greater social security and an end to employers’ use of temporary contracts to circumvent the country’s strict labour laws.
Trade unions claimed that more than 2m workers would go on strike in 80 industrial estates in 24 cities, although the figures have not been verified. In the capital, Jakarta, 15,000 police and security officers were deployed to protect key buildings and transport routes.
Many factories in Indonesia’s industrial heartland around Jakarta closed for the day as trade unionists gave fiery speeches at rallies attended by thousands of uniformed workers.
“There are many cases where employees can work for five years without being given any proper rights,” said Widyantoro Setya Purwandaru, a 32-year-old quality assurance clerk, as he picketed the Yamaha piano factory in Pulo Gadung, East Jakarta, along with hundreds of his colleagues.