Thousands of Indonesians protest labour reform in Indonesian

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Thousands of Indonesians demonstrated in Jakarta on Saturday to protest against the labour reform presented by the government as harmful to workers’ rights and the environment.

The protesters called on parliament to review and reject the labor reform, presented last month by Joko Widodo’s government and which aims to reform some 70 laws to facilitate investment and hiring.

However, unions and the Labour Party, among others, criticize that the reform cuts labor rights and facilitates subcontracting with worse conditions than those that exist at present.

Labour Party chairman Said Iqbal said the reform, known as the “omnibus law,” will seriously harm labour rights, Indonesian website Detik reported.

Among other aspects, he indicated that it will affect the minimum wage, working hours, rest days, insurance and severance pay, among others.

The government has been trying to pass this labor reform for several years and argues that it will eliminate bureaucratic obstacles and allow foreign investment to increase in Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia with more than 271 million inhabitants.

In 2020, opposition to the reform sparked protests that resulted in clashes between demonstrators and police in Jakarta, and the Constitutional Court ordered a review of some of the protests.

Now the Executive is trying to present a new version of the reform that continues to meet with great opposition among unions and other social organizations that fear that workers will lose rights.

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