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Dear Friends,

Below is the report of the action we had last first of October. The only tool which made the struggle successful has been your continous support and solidarity to our struggle. We shall call for the last warning action for the sake of Indonesian worker' working conditions and labour rights.

Look forward to getting more support from you.



1st of OCTOBER 2,000

On the first day of the implementation of fuel' new price, thousands of workers crowded the Proclamation Square, in Jakarta, to attend the mass meeting. The aim of the meeting was to protest government new policy on the cut subsidy of basic needs. The workers were united under the flag of the Forum of Unionists' Solidarity (FSU) which involves several unions such as the National Front for Indonesian Worker' Struggle (FNPBI), Indonesian Prosperity Union (SBSI), the new All Indonesian Trade Unions (SPSI-R), the two moslem unions (Sarbumusi and PPMI), the two banking and finance unions (ASPEK and FOKUBA), the Alliance of Independent Journalist (AJI) and others. Few days before, all members of FSU agreed to mobilise as many as possible of their members. However, only FNPBI and SBSI could mobilise the workers while others did not happen to "perform" well. Ironically, only few of FSU’ leaderships to show up. Until this report being launched, no confirmation has been received.

For FNPBI and FSU, it is very important to involve workers in responding the government policy. Not only it has a direct impact to the life of Indonesian workers but also it is part of the prolonged political struggle of the workers. Workers should understand the new regime is not the pro-people government but serves the interest of the international capitalist only. The last struggle showed that people could win when government delayed the policy by April 1, 2000. It is true that workers do not live on the transportation cost, which consumed almost 40% of the total usage. The problem is sourced on the use of fuel for the manufacture sector, i.e. 20%. This will lead to the increasing cost of production which will again, cause the increasing price of the daily needs. This is something that government forgets, if not to say that they have been lying about the purpose of giving subsidies (i.e. subsidies only benefit the life of the Indonesian rich people), that their policy will only create more burdens towards the people' shoulders.

Eventhough the government had increased the wages by 25%, and another 20% in addition for Jabotabek (Jakarta and its surroundings) and West Java I, but still the wages failed to cover the standard living cost. In accordance with the real living cost, FNPBI predicted that the last wages can only cover the living cost by 50%. This is also the reason to demand for 100% increasing wages.

The above conditions have clearly described the interest of workers in challenging the policy. Using the leaflets and its newsletters, FNPBI nationally socialised the issue and called the action throughout the workplaces in Jakarta. Before joining with other unions, 500 workers from the workplaces in Jakarta gathered in park of Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH-Jakarta) and together practiced the songs and gestures of struggle. This performance is very important in uniting and keeping the workers in spirit as said by Dita Sari, the chairperson of FNPBI concerning the couldy weather during the protest. She said that workers should be "cheered" up and be faithful no matter how hard the situation they face. "It seems to be raining soon as the weather is so cloudy. Not only the weather but also our lives who have been attacked by the government policy, both economically and politically", Dita said. She also reminded the workers who won the victory by last April. "It showed us that we have the power and there is no reason to retreat, Instead, we have to keep going, mobilising more workers to join. Let us make sure that government shall only release the pro-people policy", she added. Dita' speeched was only one of the ten speeches addressed by some leadership of FSU and workers' representatives from several sectors.

After having break for one hour, workers marched to the presidential palace. The distance of 10 kilometers were happily reached with songs and calls of struggle. There was no dissapointing or complaining faces.

During the protest at the front of the palace, workers repeated several times to have presidential' representative. We wanted the explanation and addressed the two demands. Although there was no sign of anger and anarchism of the workers, but hundreds of police welcomed the protestors. The peaceful action has been always being by "potential violence". Especially when the state secretary refused to have its delegate to welcome the workers. It was FSU' leadership who hardly lobbied some ministers and only Al Hilal Hamdi, ministry of manpower, who finally came to have the workers. Sadly, on the behalf of government with the support of the parliament, the minister only re-confirmed the policy. There was no political view but more about the government' ability to save the budget in order to recover from the deep crisis and pay the foreign debt. "During the period of delay, government has already lost more than 20 trillions of rupiah," he said. "It is also hard for government to increase the wages by 100% since we need to push and support the companies in order to maintain the economic crisis. The explanation then raised the workers' dissapointment for it failed accomodate the workers' aspirations. "The government should be more openly witnessing our situation," said worker from Kapuk who viewed that the blindness of the government. To calm down the workers' emotion and also to warn the government, Dita then announced the national strike, if government still insisted to imply the policy. "We give time until 10 of October for government to cancel the cut," she warned. "Let us go home and gather more strength with other friends. We shall voice our demand and only throughout the mass action we can win our demand," she closed the protest.

Meanwhile, as part of the national program, in other provinces, FNPBI' branches also crowded some political places to raise the same issue. In East Java, there was 500 workers of FNPBI-East Java to gather in the local parliament. In West Java, there was 200 workers to protest in the local parliament and marched around the city to raise the issue.

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