Thousands of Indonesian workers protest against the president’s employment decree

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Indonesian President Joko Widodo attends a news conference after the G20 Leaders summit in Bali, Indonesia, November 16, 2022 REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Pool

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Thousands of workers staged protests in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Saturday, calling on parliament to reject a presidential decree that critics say would erode the right to power. employees and protect the environment.

President Joko Widodo issued an emergency decree last month, replacing controversial employment laws in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, a move that some legal experts say violates the ruling. of the court.

The Constitutional Court ruled that the Job Creation Law of 2020 was flawed, saying there had not been enough public consultation before the law was passed. It ordered lawmakers to complete a renewal process by November.

Protester Damar Panca Mulia, 38, called the decree a government ploy to ensure the enforcement of employment laws.

“This regulation undermines worker welfare, reduces worker protections and causes widespread damage – on agricultural issues, the environment, protecting women,” he said. . “The job creation should go hand in hand with improving workers’ welfare, but this decree goes against that. That’s why we oppose it.”

Protesters held up a banner reading “Say no to outsourcing”, while others held a banner “Reject the emergency decree on job creation because there is no emergency”.

Joko Heriono, 59, said the regulation created uncertainty for workers as they could easily be fired and would receive lower severance pay.

Labor Party chairman Said Iqbal said outsourcing and the regulation of the minimum wage in the decree were among the issues of concern.

Said told reporters: “We do not want the state to be the sole agent for dirty businessmen undermining the welfare of workers.

The Employment Creation Law, which amends more than 70 other laws, has been welcomed by foreign investors for cutting cumbersome administrative procedures.

Parliament will assess the legal standing of the decree during the current session, its vice president said this week. Last week, a group of Indonesians asked the Constitutional Court to conduct a review of the regulation.

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