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Workers press for safety net law

May Day rally calls for action on social security law to help with health, education

More than 5,000 workers marched through streets in Jakarta yesterday More than 5,000 workers marched through streets in Jakarta yesterday
  • Konradus Epa, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • May 2, 2011
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More than 5,000 workers staged a rally yesterday urging the Indonesian government to immediately enact a social security bill as it will benefit workers.

The Indonesian parliament only started debates on the bill last year, and the workers want the government to pass the bill urgently.

“The bill on social security is important for our future. We want the government to regulate the social security for workers, such as health care and education,” Harris Hidayat, one of the protesters, said in his speech at the May 1 rally in front of the presidential palace in Jakarta.

Hidayat said the government has enough money and is able to provide social security for workers, instead of allowing it to be lost to corruption.

Nur Shinta, a 34-year-old garment factory worker, admitted she cannot afford health insurance for her family as well as her children’s education.

“My salary is only 800,000 rupiah (about US$94) a month. I am confused now because my daughter will go to school next year,” she said.

She said her monthly salary is only enough to meet her family’s daily needs and to pay for rent and transport.

Also joining the protest was Lukas Gatot Widyanata, head of Jakarta archdiocese’s labor services bureau.

“We support the workers’ demands on social security. Without it, they cannot pay their health insurance and afford their children’s education fee as well,” Widyanata said.

He said his bureau has built up a network with parishes and some businessmen in the archdiocese to help dismissed workers with their health care and education.

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