Workers and College Students Protest against Omnibus Bill, in Front of the Parliament Building

Jakarta – Thousands of workers and college students gathered and crowding the front of the parliament building, July 16th 2020. They protest against the Omnibus Bill, which they regard will bring adversity to Indonesian people, especially workers.

An activist orated; Omnibus Bill is a capitalist commissioned bill. They view the parliament has been co-opted by capitalist businessmen through political parties as their extension of power. Thus it’s not so surprising that the Omnibus Bill, or which we called as Job Creation Draft Bill (RUU Cipta Kerja), if it passed as a law, will only accommodate the interests of businessmen and investors.

And as to why they are against the draft bill, Saiful Anam, Chief of Federation of Popular Democratic Labour Union (F-SEDAR), explains that Omnibus Law will obliterate job certainty for workers.

“In the policy recommendation paper, it was stated that all workers status will change to fixed term employment contract workers,” he continue.

He admits that he was disappointed to the fact that Omnibus Law will perpetuate outsourcing practice and unfixed term employment contract in every job field. The government rationalized it by saying that the outsourcing system is commonly used in other countries. That argument is a proof, showing that our country does not have our own national identity.

Saiful also ask the protester to support the struggle of AICE ice cream factory workers by boycotting AICE ice cream until their demands fulfilled.

Kiki Chandra, a victim of PT. Fajar Mitra’s wrongful dismissal, took a stand against Omnibus Bill because according to him, if it passed the legislation body, this law will exacerbated the people’s life condition, which is already hard as it is. KIki, who has been struggling for two years, was the victim of prolonged fixed term employment contract. Yet, until now, justice hasn’t been coming for him.

“Where was Justice? We were defeated. This is now when there is no Omnibus Law yet, let alone then when it’s passed. How will we survive?” said Kiki.

An AICE outsourced worker once told us his story about his journey as an outsourced worker from East Java. He brought over by bus to the AICE factory in Cikarang. He has to ride a 60 people capacity bus, overload with 75 other outsourced workers.

“As I arrived in Bekasi, I have to live in a dorm house with a substandard cramp condition with 40 other people. Not to mention, my pay has been cut for more than 2 million IDR per month,” he revealed.

Elita, an AICE’s menstrual leave complication victim, orated about her story when her menstrual leave rejected by the management. It didn’t matter to them that her period always coincide with an unbearable pain, they still refused to give her the menstrual leave. Outrageously, they even mutated her to a heavier workload section of production instead.

“I even have to be in the state where I have to be operated,” she spat out. She suffers from Endometriosis. Sufferers of Endometriosis felt incredible pain when they were in their period. Still the menstrual leave was never given out to her. She always got a refusal and only given out pain killer pills.

Another problem that resurfaced was miscarriage cases. In AICE factory, miscarriage cases have reached 20 cases since 2019 alone. Until now, pregnant workers still work the night shift and the management still enforcing a normal target for them.

Sarinah, spokesperson for FSEDAR, warn workers the danger against Omnibus Bill if it passed as a law. Outsourcing system and unlimited fixed term contract will be permitted in every job fields, city/district’s minimum wage will be easily violated for there will be no criminal charges for infringement, severance pay will be cut, and wrongful dismissal will be conducted freely by handing out thrice warning letters.

“We have to take a stand against it and protest inexhaustibly, for if it passed, Omnibus Law will bring calamity for workers. If we can’t make this Bill fail to pass, we would be faced with heavier work condition and more brutal struggle against the government and capital owner. If you fear for employment termination, I tell you that it’s unnecessary, for there will be no job certainty anyway in the future. So, keep fighting with no fear!” she spoke enthusiastically.

It is important to build a labour party in the future to fight for the workers interest. Because the existing parties has been proven to only boost the capital owner and political elite’s interests.

Meanwhile, a student activist voices their concerns about education system commercialization that will flourish under Omnibus Law. This commercialization, according to them, will strangulate their neck. Even now, single tuition (UKT) felt incredibly hard in this time of pandemic, for the universities didn’t grant them with tuition remission.

The students attend the protest to voice their condition that will become harder and harder if the Omnibus Bill passed for they parents definitely will be affected. Educational cost that was more and more expensive day by day will be more costly and will be more crushingly burdening. For the wage of their parents, who are factory workers, will be less an uncertain.

This protest consists of various different organizations: Gerakan Buruh Bersama Rakyat (GEBRAK), FSEDAR, and Student’s Executive Body (BEM) from several universities, students, anarchy groups, non-profit governments, and civilians who concerns about this issue. The protest filled with several riots that broke after the police shot some water canon to the crowd.

Beside Omnibus Bill, some groups also protest against the controversial bill on Pancasila, which is Pancasila Ideology Guidelines Bill (RUU HIP). These crowds came and protest separately from the worker and student protesters, whom came to protest against Omnibus Bill.

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