Wed, 29 Mar 2000

Cleaning services told to adjust wages

JAKARTA (JP): The city administration issued a ruling on Tuesday that all cleaning service companies operating at City Hall should immediately adopt the central government-established new minimum regional wage (UMR) of Rp 286,000 (US$38) per month for their workers.

Head of City General Affairs Office Saidin Murkana said that currently the workers were paid Rp 7,700 for each working day.

"With this new ruling, the companies must pay the full amount of the minimum wage, regardless of the workers' working days," Saidin said in a written statement.

By working five days a week, the workers currently receive only between Rp 165,000 to Rp 192,500 a month. The amount is even lower than current minimum wage of Rp 231,000 a month.

The new minimum regional wage will take effect on April 1.

"There won't be any excuses for the companies to evade the new UMR. The companies still have time to adjust their workers' wage payments, as to avoid any commotion among the workers if the companies fail to comply with the regulation," he said.

Saidin said there were 22 cleaning service companies employing 400 workers at City Hall. They included air conditioner and lift maintenance workers, as well as workers taking care of the park and the lawn at the complex.

Saidin also said the new wage was intended to improve workers' welfare and dignity as well as wealth distribution. "The new wage is also important to lessen the social gap," he added.

In a separate development, the City Manpower Agency organized a training session for housemaids at the National Library Auditorium on Jl. Salemba Raya, Central Jakarta.

"Most housemaids don't get proper treatment from society and their employers even though their services are badly needed," the agency's head, Sukesti Martono, said in a written statement read by the head of the housemaids welfare subagency, Haris Abidin.

There are 250 housemaids from the city's five mayoralties participating in the training session.

"The agency's surveys show that most of the housemaids only have an elementary education background so they can't defend their own rights," Sukesti said.

"That's why the agency conducts this training to improve the image of their profession," he added.

Sukesti said it was the city administration's goal to improve its residents' living conditions, including that of housemaids.

"The city administration has issued City Bylaw No. 3/1999 on Housemaids Training to help increase their welfare and provide better protection," he said, while pointing to cases such as brokerage, physical violence, sexual harassment and swindles.

Sukesti said such cases could happen due to the housemaids' lack of education and skills. (nvn)