Bill meets staunch opposition from unions

Jakarta, The Jakarta Post, Julyi 28,2010 -

Ridwan Max Sijabat, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 07/29/2010 9:02 AM | National

Labor unions have strongly rejected the single social security provider bill that will soon be deliberated by the House of Representatives and government, saying they want a gradual reform of the social security system involving more than one provider.

They argue that a single-provider system would allow the government to acquire their assets.

During a meeting with Deputy House Speaker Priyo Budi Santoso on Wednesday, a day before the House began deliberating the bill, opposition was voiced by Indonesian Prosperous Labor Union Confederation (KSBSI), the All-Indonesian Workers Unions Confederation (KSPSI) and Indonesian workers Unions Confederation (KSPI).

Lawmakers must not politicize the bill for their own interests, KSPSI chairman Syukur Sarto said.

"We are aware that certain factions at the House support a single-provider idea, with the intention to maintain the government's control over the Rp 92 trillion in workers' funds invested in state-owned insurance company PT Jamsostek.

"Honestly, workers do not want Jamsostek's assets to be integrated with the non-liquid assets of state-owned [insurance companies] PT Askes, PT Taspen and PT Asabri, or with the social security for the poor scheme," Syukur told The Jakarta Post after the meeting.

KSPSI chairman Thamrin Mossi said labor unions had established a committee to monitor the deliberation of the bill. The committee had proposed ideas to the House on how the social security system should be managed in accordance with the 2004 Law on the National Social Security System (SJSN).

"During the bill's deliberation Labor unions will stage massive rallies outside the House of Representatives to make sure lawmakers listen to our aspirations," he said.

Rieke Diyah Pitaloka, a lawmaker of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and member of the House's labor, health and social affairs commission, said the deliberation of the bill's would commence Thursday (today).

"Because it has been long awaited by workers, farmers, fishermen and the poor, the House has made deliberation of the bill a top priority, and aims to endorse it by the end of [2010]," she said during a discussion.

She said all parties had thrown their weight behind the bill, but may be divided over the proposed single provider.

"Many groups want a single provider to maintain the government's current dominant role, while many others want multiple providers and all social security funds to be managed as trust funds to ensure maximum benefits for participants.

The bill, initiated by the House after the government had shown reluctance to implement the existing social security law, regulates the establishment of a public entity to provide social security programs mandated by law.

Said Iqbal, the chairman of the Indonesian Metal Workers Union (SPMI), said a social security program for workers should be managed under a trust fund to end the government's domination of such funding, and that its services should be extended to the 70 million workers formally employed locally and 8.7 million migrant workers overseas.

Referring to the social security programs in Malaysia and Singapore, Iqbal said the participation of 100 million workers in all sectors would generate a huge amount of funds that could be used to finance national development programs and stop Indonesia’s dependence on foreign loans.

He said he was ashamed that Singapore's Temasek company had used Singaporean workers' social security funds to acquire Indonesia's PT Telkom and several private Indonesian banks.

(Ridwan Max Sijabat)
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