Thursday, November 13, 2008

Joint Decision of 4 Ministers

The global economic crisis is getting worse every day, and its impact is now being felt in our country, whereby prices of consumer goods are getting higher and many workers are being laid down. In order to anticipate the worst, on 22 October 2008, four cabinet ministers i.e. the Minister of Manpower and Transmigration, the Minister of Trade, the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Internal Affairs, have issued a Joint Decision which determined that the labors’ Regional Minimum Wage ( U.M.R ) should not exceed our national economic growth. This Joint Decision (SKB 4 Menteri) has been widely and regularly protested by labors in many parts of Indonesia who accused that the Joint Decision is not fair for them, therefore should be cancelled.

In this regards, Detik quoted the words of the Minister of Manpower & Transmigration i.e Erman Soeparno who said that there is nothing wrong with the Joint Decision, because it is issued based on valid laws and it does not limit the UMR. Because according to the law, the UMR is determined by the provincial government. He said that the purpose of the Joint Decision is to maintain Business and Job, and to minimize lay down of workers.
Meanwhile, Kompas reported that the Secretary of the Jakarta Province Waging Council i.e Gibson Sihombing said that the Joint Decision is merely a strategy of businessmen to prevent increase of U.M.R. He further said that the Joint Decision has obstructed the objective of the UMR i.e to eliminate poverty. He gave an example that the economic growth in Jakarta in 2007 is 6.2%, which means that based on the Joint Decision the increase of U.M.R should not be more than 6 %.
This is contradictory to the Regulation of the Minister of Manpower & Transmigration No.17 Year 2005 which stipulated that the determination of Wage should be in line with the Normal Life Requirement (Kebutuhan Hidup Layak/KHL). And based on a survey conducted by the Jakarta Province Waging Council, the KHL for the months of June, July and August is Rp 1.300.000,- therefore the Joint Decision has weakened the bargaining position of the Labors. The problem is that the labors considered that the increase in KLH is currently much higher than the national economic growth, so they have demonstrated against the Joint Decision.

We can understand that the purpose of the Joint Decision is to stabilize our economy by calming businessmen so that they can maintain their business, that way they can maintain their labors. Moreover, the businessmen may even be able to increase investment, thereby would create more job opportunity.
However, we cannot keep on ignoring the needs of the labors, therefore such limitation should be ended as soon as the condition of our economy improved, the increase in UMR should be according to the increase of the Normal Life Requirement.
In the meantime, businessmen should try to provide the labors with non wage benefit such as by better treatments.


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