The Yogyakarta branch of Aliansi Jurnalis Indepen (AJI) released survey findings that a living wage for journalists in Yogyakarta would be Rp 3,147,980 (US$346) per month, over three times the 2011 provincial minimum wage of 808,000 (US$89) per month. They also found that while many journalists receive monthly wages, often journalists are paid by the story, with a rates below Rp. 25,000 (US$2.76) per story.
AJI is also calling for a sector-based minimum wage system. This is the first time I have heard of such a proposal and would be interested to know where unions in other sectors stand on this issue.
Finally, the AJI made an argument for higher wages for journalists based the important role they play in a democratic political system:
“This is very concerning especially because as the fourth pillar of democracy, journalists play an important role in maintaining press freedom that we have been enjoying for the last few years,” said Bambang who himself is a Yogyakarta-based freelance journalist. When journalists do not receive a decent salary, he said, they would be easily tempted to do something that might endanger their independence and the quality of their reporting. This could be a serious threat to the people’s rights to receive true information as guaranteed by laws.
The Clean Clothes Campaign has posted this online action in support of 300 garment workers in Cambodia who were fired back in September for striking, as part of the nationwide strikes and protests over minimum wage negotiations. Since that time, attempts to have these workers, many of whom are union leaders, reinstated have been unsuccessful. You can read more about this campaign and send a message in support of these workers by going here.
From the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI): You can send a message in support of Nurimah, SP KAHUTINDO (Indonesian Forestry and Allied Workers’ Union) plant chairperson who has been arrested and detained in the Women’s State Prison in Bulu, Semarang since December 9th. Nurimah was arrested on charges of assault against a fellow employee, an assault that allegedly occurred in 2006. The union, however, claims that the charges have been fabricated by PT. San Yu Frame Moulding Industries in an attempt to disrupt negotiations and intimidate the union.
This incident is part of a series of intimidation strategies that have been adopted by PT. San Yu Frame Moulding Industries, according to the union. Below is a history of the case provided by BWI:
The union was registered on 18 June 2009 with initial 434 members from total 700 employees. Ever since, the union has been continuously trying to initiate dialogue with the management with regards to fixed date of wage payment, wage scale and CBA renewal. On 12 January 2010, a wildcat strike happened spontaneously in the workplace, due to the discrimination of wage payment. The company paid the daily workers immediately. Yet, this led the company to systematically discriminate and intimidate union officials and members, re-established SP Kahut Indonesia – SPSI at the workplace, verbally insulting the union officials and forced an employee to report Nurimah to police for an assault claimed to be committed in 2006.
Many of the strategies described can be considered standard operating procedure in campaigns to intimidate unions. One element unique to the Indonesian context is the attempted re-establishment of an SPSI affiliate at the plant. SPSI was the only labor federation allowed under the New Order regime, but remains one of the largest labor federations in Indonesia, despite its ties to the previous regime.