Tourism workers demand minimum wage

Tourism workers in Bali are struggling to push the local administration to implement a policy that would set a minimum wage for them.

Putu Satyawira Mahendra, chairman of Bali’s tourism workers union, said the organization would reiterate their demand to the wage council during the upcoming meetings to discuss the minimum wage in 2014 for workers in the sector.

“In previous meetings, we proposed our demand, but there had been no response from the government. We don’t know what the problem is, but we will keep fighting for it,” Satyawira said.

Some cities and provinces in Indonesia had already implemented similar policies, with the terms and conditions adjusted with the main sector in respective areas, including Bekasi, Tangerang and Jakarta.

“In the new policy on wages, we demanded that the local administration incorporate a clause to protect the rights of workers in the tourism sector and to ensure their welfare. We hope the minimum wage for tourism workers could be applied starting next year,” he said.

Since tourism is the main sector in Bali and the backbone of the island’s economy, Bali has no reason not to implement the policy on minimum wage for tourism workers.

“As tourism businesses in the island continue to thrive, the number of workers in this sector keeps growing. Ensuring the welfare of workers in hospitality is crucial to make them convenient in doing their job,” Satyawira said.

Currently, his union has 10,000 members coming from various tourism-related enterprises, predominantly accommodation businesses.

I Ketut Wija, second assistant for economic affairs in the provincial administration, acknowledged the importance to provide greater protection for workers in tourism, considering that it is the sector that contributes a lion’s share to Bali’s economy.

“Tourism has been the leading sector in Bali and it’s able to stimulate the growth of other sectors as well. We will discuss the minimum wage issue with related institutions,” he promised.

Luh Putu Suryaniti, Head of Badung’s Social Affairs and Manpower office, said that her institution fully agreed to support the implementation of a minimum wage policy for the tourism sector. Moreover, most of tourism workers in Bali are in Badung.

The agency recorded 9,045 enterprises, employing 310,150 workers, 70 percent of which are in the tourism sector.

“It’s crucial to ensure that all workers in the tourism sector receive a decent wage in accordance with their respective work load.”

She did not deny the fact that there were still many companies that pay their workers below the minimum wage, although they had no financial problems.

“If the provincial administration has implemented a policy on minimum wage, regencies will adjust to it,” she ensured.

Source : JakartaPost

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