Domestic Workers Demand Status As Workers

On Wednesday, hundreds of domestic workers (PRT) staged a rally in Yogyakarta, organized by the Congress of Yogyakarta Domestic Workers Organizations (Konres Operata Yogyakarta – KOY) and Rumpun Tjoet Njak Dien (RTND).  At issue is the status of domestic workers as formal, rather than informal, workers, as the Jakarta Post explains:

The three-point article, among others, stipulated that a working contract could be made between an employer and his/her domestic worker. It also mandated the Yogyakarta mayor to prepare a separate bylaw on domestic workers.  Although no obligations were mentioned in the article regarding a compulsory working contract, the article was considered to be a big step in which domestic workers, or PRT as they are locally known, have already been officially acknowledged as formal workers.  “As far as we know, it was the first regional bylaw in the country that ever mentioned and thus acknowledged the status of domestic helpers as workers,” Buyung said.  Unfortunately, Buyung added, the article lasted only for about six months as Yogyakarta Governor Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X issued the decree on Dec. 14, 2009, stating that PRTs were part of the informal sector and therefore should not be included in the bylaw on manpower.

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