Sat, 08 Apr 2000

Temporary workers protest uniform change

TANGERANG (JP): Some 675 temporary employees with the Tangerang office of the City Land Transportation Agency (DLLAJ), brought on Friday their grievance to the local chapter of the Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI).

The complaint, filed by seven representing officials, opposed the agency's new regulation that they procure new uniforms for Rp 120,000 (US$17) each.

"How can we afford to buy this new uniform when we have never been properly paid for our services," Arifin, one of the seven representatives, said.

"Most of us have been working as helpers at the Tangerang office of the Public Land Transportation Agency from five to 15 years, while some have for 25 years.

"And our daily income is between Rp 5,000 and Rp 10,000 for a working period from 7 a.m. till 10 p.m.," he added.

The ruling on the new uniforms was issued by Rachmad Hadis, the chairman of the DLLAJ Tangerang office. It has been in effect since Feb. 29, 2000.

With the new ruling, each temporary employee has to wear a white short-sleeved shirt with the letters "D L L A J" embroidered on the left sleeve and the emblem of the Tangerang administration on its right. Employees must also wear dark blue pants.

The old uniform consisted of dark blue pants, a light blue short-sleeved shirt with the emblem of the Ministry of Communications on its left sleeve.

Temporary employees collect levies from drivers of public minivans and city buses at the bus and minivan terminals of Cimone, Ciledug, Cikokol, Cibodas Baru, Pasar Baru and Sewan.

"We're so sad because we've been working so hard, but we're still exploited by the agency.

"Sometimes we have had to sell our chickens to pay for our trip in to work," said Samsudi, another representative.

"The new ruling should be revoked. Otherwise, we'll go on strike," he added.

As with the PWI Tangerang chapter, the employees are also planning to stage a protest at the DLLAJ Tangerang office and file a similar complaint with the Tangerang Legislative Council soon.

"Although we've been working at the DLLAJ Tangerang office for years, we can still be fired if we disobey this new ruling," Jaeni, another representative, said.

Separately, Rachmad Hadis said the new uniforms were part of the agency's campaign to clean up its image after several individuals illegally collected money from public minivan and city bus drivers at night.

"We received reports that people in DLLAJ uniforms had asked for 'tips' of between Rp 20,000 and Rp 50,000 from the drivers," he said.

"The new uniforms will help the agency in monitoring the behavior of its officials."

"We'll dismiss any agency official taking illegal levies from the drivers," he added.(41/imn)