Wed, 09 Jul 2003

5,000 shoe workers protest for better pay

SURABAYA: Around 5,000 workers of shoe company PT Fortune Mate Indonesia (FMI) staged a demonstration here on Tuesday to demand better conditions.

The protesters, mostly women, urged the management to fire the company's human resources development head, Kusnardi, whom they blamed for reducing their allowances.

"Kusnardi has failed to protect us," one protester said.

According to the workers, the protest, which was held at the factory in Tambak Sawah, Rungkut, Surabaya, was the result of the workers' frustration as the local labor union and the company had failed to address their grievances.

Kusnardi tried to explain the problems currently being faced by the company to the workers, but they remained unmoved.

The workers demanded that the company reinstate the Rp 34,000 monthly menstruation allowance for female workers, which was halted earlier this month.

They also demanded that management increase their food and transportation allowances to Rp 3,000 per day instead of the Rp 1,500 per day which they have been receiving since Kusnardi took up his post before January.

"Under current conditions, the workers have no other option but to complain about the food and transportation allowances. They often have to pay the shortfalls," said Kusnan, a protester.

He said that in reality the workers needed at least Rp 4,000 to cover their daily food and transportation costs. --JP