Fri, 18 Aug 2000

BCA to hike wages after workers protest

JAKARTA (JP): Some 1,000 Bank Central Asia (BCA) employees rallied on Wednesday in front of the company's headquarters on Jl. Sudirman, South Jakarta, demanding more pay.

The protesters, mostly wearing a red ribbon on their arm, arrived at 10 a.m. and gave speeches in the parking lot. Around 14 of them then met with the management.

"We demand a 30 percent to 50 percent wage hike," said the spokesman of the workers' union, M. Bilal Idris, who works in the marketing department of the bank's Pasar Minggu branch.

He said most of those on the protest worked as supervisors, office boys, messengers and drivers and were paid between Rp 500,000 to Rp 1,000,000 per month.

"The company granted an annual wage increase of 35 percent in April, but it is still not enough to support our families," said Bilal, adding that the union had tried to talk with executives at the company, but no decision had been made.

The protest caused 21 branch offices to close temporarily. Its Jl. Sudirman office reopened at 1 p.m.

After three hours of negotiation, the management met with the protesting employees on the parking lot and explained the results of the discussion.

"We have reached an agreement with the employees to be transparent and open in this matter, especially on the budget," said BCA director D.E. Sutijoso.

He said the management had agreed to increase wages, but he declined to mention the percentage approved by the company, which would be effective in its next year budget.

"It is not ethical to mention such figures, but we agreed to relocate some items in the planned budget for our employee's welfare," said Sutijoso.

Union spokesman Bilal said that he was satisfied with the decision. He said the management had approved increases in allowances such as transportation, which would add some Rp 300,000 to an employee's monthly wage packet starting September.

The wage increase would be effective in January but would be paid starting April.

"We must appreciate the willingness of the management to listen to our demands," Bilal said.

Bibit Gunawan, an employee at a BCA branch in South Jakarta, said, "It's a win-win solution for all of us." (07)