SERBUK joins farmers’ protest against Omnibus Law

As protests against the Omnibus Law snowballed all over Indonesia, SERBUK joined thousands of farmers in a protest march in West Kararwang coinciding with the celebration of National Farmer’s Day (HTN) last 24 September.

The farmers have reportedly joined workers and indigenous peoples in criticising the law, arguing that it will result in the degradation of natural resources and attack the working conditions of workers. 

“The COVID-19 economic crisis has highlighted workers’ need for increased job security and protection. The Omnibus Law will do the opposite, making workers more economically insecure and easier for employers to deprive them of stable employment,” SERBUK Chairman Subono said during the protest.

“We demand firm actions to be taken against businesses that have used COVID-19 as an excuse to diminish the rights of workers. Workers are being forced to continue working with poor salaries in the middle of a pandemic, while the government has turned a blind eye,” Subono added.

Subono said that workers’ wages have been slashed by as much as 60 percent, with one particular case that they have monitored, workers received only 5 percent of their normal income. He also complained of companies that used COVID-19 as a convenient excuse to illegally restrict workers’ movements.

The West Karawang protest march ended outside district government offices, where SERBUK officials were invited inside to have a dialogue with local government authorities. The union, however, declined the invitation, citing that COVID-19 swab examinations are required before entering government offices.