Monthly Archives: January 2013

Yudi Latief on Equality & Democracy in Indonesia

From The Jakarta Globe:

Yudi Latief, an analyst at Central Jakarta’s Freedom Institute, argued that the emergence of democracy gave Indonesian citizens greater freedom, but in doing so has allowed the wealthy to entrench their position while giving few opportunities for advancement to poorer people. 

“Democracy in Indonesia has yet to create equality,” Yudi told a discussion hosted by the Yellow Forum for Young Leaders on Sunday. “Only the ones with power, and businesspeople, enjoy freedom. The common people still can’t enjoy freedom. They have become more marginalized due to the strong domination of the people with the power and capital.” The weekend event carried the theme: “The urgency to strengthen democracy in Indonesia.” 

Yudi said that equality under the law should have paved the way to equality in development and widespread prosperity, but democracy in Indonesia instead widened the gap between the rich and the poor. 

“This condition will lead to democracy destroying itself,” he said. “If [democracy] fails to create equality in due time, the democracy will be rejected and eliminated. So, it will destroy itself.”

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Benny Hari Juliawan, from “Street-Level Politics: Labour Protests in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia” (2011, Journal of Contemporary Asia):

Research into the post-authoritarian labour movement in Indonesia is still at an early stage. The existing literature is focused mostly on finding the answer to this single question: why has the labour movement failed to become a significant political force in the post-authoritarian era? The picture that has emerged from answering this question is universally bleak, portraying helpless trade unions in the face of economic constraints and the undemocratic remnants of the old forces. Being overtly cautious of the new democracy, this line of analysis has not done justice to the Indonesian labour movement. It overestimates the ghost of the old dictatorship and underplays the power of budding labour groups.

Nike’s Minimum Wage Troubles

From The Financial Times:

The battle over factory pay in Indonesia is intensifying, with vocal local trade unions joining hands with a US non-governmental organisation to pressure Nike suppliers into paying minimum wages.

A yawning gap is opening up between employers, who argue that hefty minimum wage increases are destroying their profitability, and trade unions, who argue that wages must rise further and employment conditions be improved.

The Jakarta city government hiked the minimum wage by 44 per cent to Rp2.2m ($228) on January 1 and other provinces have followed suit with hefty increases.

At a joint press conference in Jakarta on Monday, Indonesian trade unionists and Education for Justice, an American Catholic NGO, criticised Nike’s suppliers in Indonesia for seeking exemptions to the minimum wage, which are allowed for companies that cannot afford to raise pay.