FT: “Asian labor militancy rises with prices”

The Financial Times published this article on increased labor unrest and upward pressures on wages throughout Asia as the prices of food and other basic goods rise.

Here’s what the article had to say about Indonesia:

In Indonesia — where powerful trade unions with millions of members play a crucial role in negotiating with employers — minimum wages, set by regional authorities, have been increasing.

In 2008, Jakarta raised the local minimum wage by 10 per cent to nearly $100 a month, although wages in the country’s remoter regions are half that.

Yet Indonesia has also recorded a spate of strikes at textile factories, including a one-day stoppage last month in Bandung, where 40,000 workers from various companies walked out in protest against rising electricity prices.

“Prices are skyrocketing, and many of our members are breadwinners and have kids to be sent to school,” says Mochammad Papon, head of the union representing garment workers, mostly women, from 14 textile factories in West Java, which is planning to strike for higher wages next week.

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