Tuesday, May 8, 2012


       Jakarta, May 8, 2012 (ANTARA) - On the eve of May 1, when workers all over the world, including in Indonesia, celebrated May Day or International Labour Day, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced "special gifts" for Indonesian workers.
        "This year is very special for Indonesian workers because the president has issued a number of strategic decrees to promote their living standard," said Daniel Sparingga, the president`s special aide for political communication, in a press statement on April 30.

       The strategic decrees, regarded as the president`s "special gifts" to Indonesian workers, include plans to construct hospitals, low-cost houses and affordable rented flats that are close to the workplace for workers, as well as an additional 200 buses to facilitate transport for them.
       "Starting next year, hospitals for workers will be built in cities which have many industries, such as Tangerang, Bekasi and Surabaya," Sparingga announced.
      As for the buses, in the first phase, they will be made available in industrialised cities such as Tangerang (Banten), Bekasi (West Java), Surabaya (East Java) and Batam (Sumatra).

In addition to the above, the government will also increase the ceiling of untaxed income from Rp1.3 million to Rp2 million per month.

"These measures are important to improve the workers` living standards," he remarked.

Although Sparingga stated that the hospital construction will start next year, the Public Housing Ministry has decided to build three hospitals for workers in the Jabodetabek industrial area earlier than initially planned.

"We are going to build three hospitals in Jabodetabek this year. The funds and the designs are available," said Public Housing Minister Djan Faridz in Jakarta on May 4.

The government has allocated Rp200 billion for the hospital construction and facilities needed to ensure worker health and safety.

Faridz hopes that the construction will begin by mid-2012, since the regional administrations in the Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi) area have already allocated the requisite land.

"The budget is available, and the president has instructed the construction of the hospitals," he added.

In fact, the ministry is considering building five hospitals instead of three, if the existing funds of Rp200 billion permit.

"So the hospitals will be in Bekasi, Karawang, Tangerang, Jakarta and Bogor. But first, we have to see," he remarked.

The minister noted that the priority services for the planned hospitals will include emergency units to treat work-related accidents in the industrial areas.

The hospital managements will work closely with the state workers` insurance company PT Jamsostek in the hospitals` operation, medical treatment and medical treatment costs.

"The hospitals will operate using Jamsostek fees. The medical costs will be paid monthly to the hospitals. We just handle the construction," he added.

The Public Housing Minister`s announcement was lauded by the chairman of the Indonesian Labour Union Confederation`s (KSPSI) NTT chapter Stanis Tefa.

"It demonstrates the government`s concern for workers, who constitute the largest foreign exchange contributors to the state budget, amounting to trillions of rupiahs, through their work and service," Tefa recently remarked in Kupang, the capital of NTT province.

He hoped that the government, in cooperation with KSPSI, will build at least one hospital for workers in every province.

Thousands of workers rallied in a number of cities, including Jakarta, while observing International Labour Day on May 1.

The workers came from various labour unions, including the All-Indonesia Labour Union (SPSI), the Conference of All-Indonesia Labour Unions (KSPSI), the National Network for Advocacy (JALA), the Association of Indonesian Labour Unions (ASPEK Indonesia) and the Federation of Indonesian Metal Labour Union (FSPMI).

Over 100,000 workers gathered in front of the Merdeka Palace, Central Jakarta, and called for an improvement in their welfare by demanding, among other things, a special allocation of funds for worker welfare in next year`s state budget and subsidies in housing, educational, health and transportation facilities for workers.

They also urged the government to seriously undertake lifetime health insurance provision to all Indonesians by January 1, 2014, and to implement compulsory pension insurance programmes by July 1, 2015.

Another very important demand of the workers is to put an end to the outsourcing system.

According to President Yudhoyono, the government is sincere in its plans to improve the workers` welfare and has no political interests in mind.

"They are fully aimed at making the welfare conditions of workers better. This is based on goodwill, not politics. We are sincere in our efforts to improve the welfare of workers, based on the state`s capacity. Ensuring better welfare conditions through policies that carry no political gain is our commitment. If political interests are the basis, mistakes may happen, which can create problems," he declared at a limited cabinet meeting on the economy held on May 3, following the peaceful May Day rallies throughout the country. ***3***
(T.F001/A/KR-BSR/F001) 08-05-2012 18:05:16

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