Thu, 07 Oct 2010

TEMPO Interactive, Yogyakarta:The government’s plan to revise the Law no. 13/ 2003 on Manpower raised protests from workers in Yogyakarta. The revision draft was judged to favor businessmen compared to the existing law.

“The existing law does not satisfy workers or businessmen. But compared to the revised draft, Law No. 13 is much better,” said Muhammad Hono Sejati, the Ad Hoc deputy chief justice of the Yogyakarta Industrial Relations Court, in a discussion titled “The Fate of Workers under the Law no. 13/ 2003 Revision” yesterday.

Kernadi, the Yogyakarta Workers Alliance Secretary-General added there were six points in the revised draft that was a burden to the workers. First, it was about on-contract workers. While it is limited to two years in the Law no. 13, there was no such time limit in the revised draft.

“The majority of workers in Yogyakarta are contract-based. If there is no time limit, their contract can be terminated any time,” Kernadi said.

The second was about outsourcing, which was still mentioned in the revised draft. Yet, outsourcing regulated by Law no. 13 was rejected by many workers.

The third was about foreign workers who are allowed to sit in a higher position than local workers. The fourth issue was about the elimination of Chapter 79 on long leaves. Yet, the workers need the leave.

The fifth issue was about workers’ strike. Although it is legal, this can be a reason for employers to terminate the work contract. “Strikes become a boomerang for workers because they have to bear the consequences,” Kernadi said.

The last one was about severance pay. Businessmen asked that the maximum amount for workers’ severance pay is five times their pay. Because, they said, the workers will get other compensation when their contract is terminated.

“Workers must unite to reject the revisions. If the workers’ unity fails, the revision will take place,” Kernadi said.

Contacted separately, Arif Rahman Hakim, the Yogyakarta Regional House of Representatives’ (DPRD) Commission D secretary, said that whether or not Law no. 13/2003 is revised, it will still put workers on the disadvantaged position. If it is not revised, the Law will still become a legal product that is not pro-workers. But if it is revised, there are dangers that the law will be even more unfair to the workers.

“It would be better for workers to refuse the revised draft but still ask for a revision by recommending their own draft,” Arif said.