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The Bare Necessities of Life

Workers’ Group Says Increase in Official Minimum Wage Level for Bali Inadequate

(12/8/2012) Bali’s minimum wage rule, although increased 20%, from the level in 2012, is not receiving an enthusiastic welcome from many workers in Bali who view the new and official declared lowest wage level as insufficient to meet basic human needs.

The provincial wage council’s recommendation to the Governor of a wage of Rp. 1,181,000 per month (US$123) was described by the chairman of the Indonesian National Front for the Workers Struggle (Front Nasional Perjuangan Buruh Indonesia), Ichsan Tantowi, as too little in comparison with the rate of inflation and the current growth in the economy. Quoted by Kompas.com, Ichsan said: “The increase (in the minimum wage) is clearly inadequate. Moreover, there will soon be increases in the cost of fuel and electricity.”

Ischan Tantowi’s comments were made at a discussion held at the office of the Alliance of Independent Journalists in Denpasar on Wednesday, December 5, 2012.

In Ichsan’s view, the minimum wage for Bali in 2013 should be set at Rp. 1,400,000 (US$146) per month when viewed in terms of the cost of basic needs to sustain life, the rate of inflation and coming increases in energy costs that he claims will result in prices increases generally.

Minimum Wage Protests

Seputarbali.com reports that a group of protestors representing workers and members of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) marched on the office of Bali’s governor on Thursday, December 6, 2012, demanding that the decision to set the minimum monthly wage in Bali at Rp. 1,181,000 be withdrawn and urgently reviewed.

The demonstration, dominated by workers from Indonesia’s textile and garment sector, held banners posters demanding a living wage for Bali’s lowest paid workers.

The chairman of AJI, Rofiqi Hasan, spoke on behalf of the group demanding the minimum monthly wage in Bali be increased to Rp. 1.4 million.

The protestors also called for the establishment of an independent workers supervision council to ensure the interests and security of the lowest paid workers are not forgotten.

The governor, who was away from his office on a trip, was unable to meet with the protestors, but has publicly expressed his concern that Bali’s minimum wage standard was insufficient and needed review.

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