Tag: jobs

Indonesia Islamic groups, students join movement to scrap jobs law

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Wearing white Islamic garb and waving red and white Indonesian flags, more than 1,000 protesters from Islamic and student groups gathered in the world’s most populous Muslim nation on Tuesday to show discontent over a divisive new jobs law.

Conservative Islamic groups are among the latest to join the volatile street demonstrations, during which police fired tear gas on Tuesday to try to break up crowds, as pressure mounts on the government to repeal a law they say undermines labour rights and environmental protections.

The country’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, is among its opponents and says it favours conglomerates while “trampling” on the rights of working-class Indonesians.

Hamdan, a 53-year-old teacher who goes by one name, said he would keep protesting until the law was repealed.

“People can’t go out, some people can’t even eat and unemployment is still high,” he told Reuters in Jakarta. “Even my son still can’t find a job.”

Protests against the so-called omnibus law took place in multiple locations involving thousands of Indonesians last week, some of which saw streets blocked, tyres burned and rocks hurled, leading to more than 6,000 people being detained.

“The bill will definitely affect myself, my job, my relatives, my friends and everything,” said engineer Rafi Zakaria, 30.

“It doesn’t only affect labourers. Our students here joined the protest because they’re concerned about their parents’ jobs.”

The law, designed to reduce red tape and attract investors, has yet to be published and the unofficial versions circulating in the media and online have led to speculation and confusion.

Deputy house speaker Azis Syamsyuddin told Reuters the law would be sent to the president and made public on Wednesday.

The government is standing by the legislation and President Joko Widodo has blamed the public outcry on disinformation. Indonesia’s defence minister has blamed the demonstrations on “foreign interference”.

“There are those who do not want to see Indonesia as conducive to investors, and want to always benefit from that,” the ministry spokesperson, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, said, without elaborating.

(This story corrects name of deputy house speaker in paragraph 10 to Azis Syamsyuddin, not Achmad Baidowi)

Writing by Kate Lamb; Editing by Martin Petty

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Indonesia Islamic Groups, Students Join Movement to Scrap Jobs Law | World News

By Yuddy Cahaya Budiman and Agustinus Beo Da Costa

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Wearing white Islamic garb and waving red and white Indonesian flags, more than 1,000 protesters from Islamic and student groups gathered in the world’s most populous Muslim nation on Tuesday to show discontent over a divisive new jobs law.

Conservative Islamic groups are among the latest to join the volatile street demonstrations, during which police fired tear gas on Tuesday to try to break up crowds, as pressure mounts on the government to repeal a law they say undermines labor rights and environmental protections.

The country’s largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, is among its opponents and says it favours conglomerates while “trampling” on the rights of working-class Indonesians.

Hamdan, a 53-year-old teacher who goes by one name, said he would keep protesting until the law was repealed.

“People can’t go out, some people can’t even eat and unemployment is still high,” he told Reuters in Jakarta. “Even my son still can’t find a job.”

Protests against the so-called omnibus law took place in multiple locations involving thousands of Indonesians last week, some of which saw streets blocked, tyres burned and rocks hurled, leading to more than 6,000 people being detained.

“The bill will definitely affect myself, my job, my relatives, my friends and everything,” said engineer Rafi Zakaria, 30.

“It doesn’t only affect labourers. Our students here joined the protest because they’re concerned about their parents’ jobs.”

The law, designed to reduce red tape and attract investors, has yet to be published and the unofficial versions circulating in the media and online have led to speculation and confusion.

Deputy house speaker Achmad Baidowi told Reuters the law would be sent to the president and made public on Wednesday.

The government is standing by the legislation and President Joko Widodo has blamed the public outcry on disinformation. Indonesia’s defence minister has blamed the demonstrations on “foreign interference”.

“There are those who do not want to see Indonesia as conducive to investors, and want to always benefit from that,” the ministry spokesperson, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, said, without elaborating.

(Writing by Kate Lamb; Editing by Martin Petty)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Explainer: Indonesia’s jobs law endangers environment, say activists, investors

JAKARTA/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Environmentalists in Indonesia are calling for the reversal of a controversial law aimed at job creation because it is seen favouring business interests at the expense of the environment and labour.

A demonstrator holds an Indonesian flag during a protest against the government’s labour reforms in a controversial jobs creation law in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 8, 2020. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of palm oil and nickel ore for electric vehicle batteries, has forests bigger than any outside the Amazon and Congo, and environmentalists say the country’s abundant natural reserves could be exploited under the new law.

The reforms are contained in a so-called “omnibus” bill of changes in more than 70 laws, which allowed parliament to vote in a single swoop and pass the measure on Monday.

Thousands of people took to the streets of cities across Indonesia over the past three days, part of protests and national strikes against the law.

The government says the law is needed to improve the investment climate and create jobs in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. It says the environment will be protected.

Here are some of the changes to environmental rules:

AMDAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS

The new law merges the approval of business permits with environmental permits.

To get an environmental permit under the previous legislation, companies exploiting natural resources had to produce an AMDAL – a study to assess the impact investments have on the environment and local communities.

The new AMDAL process has removed a requirement for companies to consult environmental experts by only allowing “directly impacted communities” to give input for the assessment.

“Sure, it (AMDAL) is still there, but it is weakened,” Asep Komaruddin, a senior forest campaigner at Greenpeace, told Reuters.

Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar says undermining environmental laws will now incur more risk to a company as its business permit would also be on the line.

MINIMUM FOREST AREA

The previous law required Indonesian islands have a forest cover of at least 30%. This requirement has been removed, raising concerns that palm oil plantations and mining companies could sharply step up land clearance.

The law risks provinces like Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra, home to massive palm oil plantations, losing natural forests within 20 years, environmental group The Sustainable Madani Foundation said.

“Losing forests is more than just losing tree cover,” said Teguh Surya, the foundation’s executive director.

“(It also means) increasing intensity of forest fires, floods and landslides, harvest failures, a lack of clean water”.

Bambang Hendroyono, an environment ministry official, said the previous 30% threshold was “unscientific” and would be replaced by new metrics.

The new law calls for minimum forest areas to be based on “geophysics”, and “socioeconomic conditions”, but does not provide any specifics.

PENALTIES FOR FOREST FIRES, DUMPING TOXIC WASTE

In previous regulations, companies were responsible for environmental damage in their concessions, even if there was no proof that the company was at fault.

This is known in legal terms as “strict liability”.

Environmentalists say

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Clashes erupt during demonstrations against new Indonesian jobs law

JAKARTA — Police and demonstrators clashed in the Indonesian capital on Thursday on the third day of protests and strikes against a polarising new jobs law passed in Southeast Asia’s largest economy earlier this week.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered near the presidential palace in central Jakarta, shouting and throwing stones. Police fired tear gas and water cannon in an attempt to disperse the crowd, Reuters witnesses said.

The “omnibus” jobs creation bill, passed into law on Monday, has seen thousands of people across the world’s fourth-most populous nation take to the streets in protest against legislation they say undermines labour rights and weakens environmental protections.

“This is our struggle for our children and grandchildren, and our future generations… If it’s like this our well-being will decrease, and we will lack job certainty,” Maulana Syarif, 45, who has worked at Astra Honda motors for 25 years, told Reuters in Jakarta.

Demonstrators are seen next to a burning police station in Jakarta on Thursday.Willy Kurniawan / Reuters

Around 1,000 protesters have been detained in Jakarta and more than 100 others arrested in other cities, according to police spokespeople. At least two students have been hospitalised with head injuries, and six police officers hurt.

“I feel a responsibility to the Indonesian people,” said another demonstrator, IT student Arawinda Kartika, as she marched toward the palace. “I feel sorry for labourers working day and night without sufficient wages or power.”

Labour union leader Jumisi called for protests to continue until the law was repealed, extending unions’ initial plan for a three-day national strike ending Thursday.

Television channels showed demonstrations in multiple cities across the country, including in remote areas such as North Maluku, where people carried coffins and held mock funerals to mark the “death” of Parliament.

Black smoke rose across the capital on Thursday afternoon as protesters burned public transport facilities and damaged police posts. The operator of Jakarta’s MRT rail network said underground stations had been closed.

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Protesters blocked a toll road in West Java and set fire to a cafe in Yogyakarta province, media reported.

Two provincial governors urged the president to issue an emergency decree to cancel the law, they said in their social media accounts.

The government of President Joko Widodo has championed the legislation as key to boosting Indonesia’s ailing economy by cutting red tape and attracting more foreign direct investment.

Bahlil Lahadalia, the head of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board, appealed to young people to trust the government’s intent.

“Please be assured this law is to create jobs for the unemployed Indonesian people,” he said.

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Indonesian Muslim and union groups to fight new jobs law in court

By Angie Teo and Tabita Diela

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo came under increasing pressure to repeal his new controversial labour law on Friday with union and Muslim groups preparing to challege it in court and some regional leaders publicly opposing the legislation.

The KSPI labour group, among the organisers of three-day national strikes ending Thursday, is preparing to lodge a case against the new law in the Constitutional Court, the group’s president Said Iqbal said in a statement.

Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s biggest Muslim group with millions of followers, would also challenge the law in the court, it said in its official Twitter account.

The “omnibus” jobs creation bill, passed into law on Monday, has seen thousands of people across the world’s fourth-most populous nation take to the streets in protest, saying it undermines labour rights and weakens environmental protections.

Clashes erupted in some cities on Thursday, including in the capital Jakarta where protesters burnt public transport facilities and damaged police posts.

At least five regional leaders, including the governors of Jakarta and the country’s most populous province West Java, have said they would pass on protersters’ demand to the president or publicly opposed the law

Repealing the law would prevent further clashes “that could create prolong instability amid a pandemic and an economic recession”, West Kalimantan Govenor Sutarmidji said in a statement.

The president has yet to make any public statement, but his ministers have defended the law, saying protests were triggered by false news and that the legislation would improve people’s welfare by welcoming more investment.

Jakarta police on Thursday detained about 1,000 demonstrators, but most of them were released by Friday morning, Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus said.

Police did not expect a fourth day of protests in the capital on Friday, he said.

However, trade union KSBSI on Friday called on its members to launch another wave of protests from Oct. 12 to 16.

A meeting of many other labour groups is scheduled over the weekend to consolidate their next move, Ilhamsyah of KPBI labour union told Reuters.

Jakarta resident Nathan Tarigan feared clashes would escalate.

“I’m afraid if the government and stakeholders of the state aren’t wise, don’t want to listen, something bigger can happen and the state can break,” the 50-year-old said.

(Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Michael Perry)

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Explainer: Indonesia’s Jobs Law Endangers Environment, Say Activists, Investors | World News

By Fathin Ungku, Gayatri Suroyo and Bernadette Christina

JAKARTA/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Environmentalists in Indonesia are calling for the reversal of a controversial law aimed at job creation because it is seen favouring business interests at the expense of the environment and labour.

Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of palm oil and nickel ore for electric vehicle batteries, has forests bigger than any outside the Amazon and Congo, and environmentalists say the country’s abundant natural reserves could be exploited under the new law.

The reforms are contained in a so-called “omnibus” bill of changes in more than 70 laws, which allowed parliament to vote in a single swoop and pass the measure on Monday.

Thousands of people took to the streets of cities across Indonesia over the past three days, part of protests and national strikes against the law.

The government says the law is needed to improve the investment climate and create jobs in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. It says the environment will be protected.

Here are some of the changes to environmental rules:

AMDAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS

The new law merges the approval of business permits with environmental permits.

To get an environmental permit under the previous legislation, companies exploiting natural resources had to produce an AMDAL – a study to assess the impact investments have on the environment and local communities.

The new AMDAL process has removed a requirement for companies to consult environmental experts by only allowing “directly impacted communities” to give input for the assessment.

“Sure, it (AMDAL) is still there, but it is weakened,” Asep Komaruddin, a senior forest campaigner at Greenpeace, told Reuters.

Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar says undermining environmental laws will now incur more risk to a company as its business permit would also be on the line.

The previous law required Indonesian islands have a forest cover of at least 30%. This requirement has been removed, raising concerns that palm oil plantations and mining companies could sharply step up land clearance.

The law risks provinces like Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra, home to massive palm oil plantations, losing natural forests within 20 years, environmental group The Sustainable Madani Foundation said.

“Losing forests is more than just losing tree cover,” said Teguh Surya, the foundation’s executive director.

“(It also means) increasing intensity of forest fires, floods and landslides, harvest failures, a lack of clean water”.

Bambang Hendroyono, an environment ministry official, said the previous 30% threshold was “unscientific” and would be replaced by new metrics.

The new law calls for minimum forest areas to be based on “geophysics”, and “socioeconomic conditions”, but does not provide any specifics.

PENALTIES FOR FOREST FIRES, DUMPING TOXIC WASTE

In previous regulations, companies were responsible for environmental damage in their concessions, even if there was no proof that the company was at fault.

This is known in legal terms as “strict liability”.

Environmentalists say the wording of the section is vague under the new law and proof of wrongdoing is now required to prosecute the company.

Officials

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UK government prepares jobs support if firms forced to close

LONDON (AP) — The British government is on Friday set to announce further support for firms to retain staff in the coming months if they are forced to close as a result of the imposition of further lockdown restrictions.

With the government expected to tighten restrictions over the coming days to deal with a sharp spike in new coronavirus infections, there are growing concerns that the economy will suffer during the winter and that hundreds of thousands of jobs may be lost.

Treasury chief Rishi Sunak said he understood how “people are worried about the coming winter months.”


He is being urged by businesses, politicians and unions to accompany any lockdown restrictions with a financial support package to prevent mass unemployment. Specifically, he is being urged to back local job retention programs, whereby the government steps in to pay the lion’s share of the salaries of workers who are forced to go idle. A national program that has helped keep a lid on unemployment is due to stop at the end of October.

“The Chancellor will be setting out the next stage of the Job Support Scheme later today that will protect jobs and provide a safety net for those businesses that may have to close in the coming weeks and months,” a Treasury spokesman said.

New figures released Friday show that the British economy’s bounce back from recession slowed significantly in August. The Office for National Statistics said the economy expanded by only 2.1% in August from the month before. That was way down on the 6.4% expansion in July and substantially lower than the 4.6% anticipated in financial markets.

The hospitality sector was one that performed well, boosted by many people’s decision to take their holidays in the U.K. instead of going abroad, as well as the government’s dining discount scheme during the month. Under the Eat Out to Help Out program, sitting customers could receive a 50% discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks at participating restaurants between Monday and Wednesday up to 10 pounds ($13) per person.

“There was strong growth in restaurants and accommodation due to the easing of lockdown rules, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, and people choosing summer staycations,” statistician Jonathan Athow said.

However, he said, many other parts of the services sector recorded “muted growth.” Manufacturing was also struggling with car and aircraft production still below levels seen at the start of the year.

The British economy lost nearly a quarter of its output at the height of the lockdown in spring, when many sectors were closed and those people still working were encouraged to do so from home. Since May, when lockdown measures were eased, the economy has grown for four months, recovering much of the output lost. However, at the end of August the economy was still 9.2% smaller than before the pandemic.

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Indonesia’s jobs law endangers environment, say activists, investors

By Fathin Ungku, Gayatri Suroyo and Bernadette Christina

JAKARTA/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Environmentalists in Indonesia are calling for the reversal of a controversial law aimed at job creation because it is seen favouring business interests at the expense of the environment and labour.

Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of palm oil and nickel ore for electric vehicle batteries, has forests bigger than any outside the Amazon and Congo, and environmentalists say the country’s abundant natural reserves could be exploited under the new law.

The reforms are contained in a so-called “omnibus” bill of changes in more than 70 laws, which allowed parliament to vote in a single swoop and pass the measure on Monday.

Thousands of people took to the streets of cities across Indonesia over the past three days, part of protests and national strikes against the law.

The government says the law is needed to improve the investment climate and create jobs in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. It says the environment will be protected.

Here are some of the changes to environmental rules:

AMDAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS

The new law merges the approval of business permits with environmental permits.

To get an environmental permit under the previous legislation, companies exploiting natural resources had to produce an AMDAL – a study to assess the impact investments have on the environment and local communities.

The new AMDAL process has removed a requirement for companies to consult environmental experts by only allowing “directly impacted communities” to give input for the assessment.

“Sure, it (AMDAL) is still there, but it is weakened,” Asep Komaruddin, a senior forest campaigner at Greenpeace, told Reuters.

Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar says undermining environmental laws will now incur more risk to a company as its business permit would also be on the line.

MINIMUM FOREST AREA

The previous law required Indonesian islands have a forest cover of at least 30%. This requirement has been removed, raising concerns that palm oil plantations and mining companies could sharply step up land clearance.

The law risks provinces like Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra, home to massive palm oil plantations, losing natural forests within 20 years, environmental group The Sustainable Madani Foundation said.

“Losing forests is more than just losing tree cover,” said Teguh Surya, the foundation’s executive director.

“(It also means) increasing intensity of forest fires, floods and landslides, harvest failures, a lack of clean water”.

Bambang Hendroyono, an environment ministry official, said the previous 30% threshold was “unscientific” and would be replaced by new metrics.

The new law calls for minimum forest areas to be based on “geophysics”, and “socioeconomic conditions”, but does not provide any specifics.

PENALTIES FOR FOREST FIRES, DUMPING TOXIC WASTE

In previous regulations, companies were responsible for environmental damage in their concessions, even if there was no proof that the company was at fault.

This is known in legal terms as “strict liability”.

Environmentalists say the wording of the section is vague under the new law and proof of wrongdoing is now required

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Protests spread across Indonesia in opposition of omnibus jobs law

Oct. 8 (UPI) — Tens of thousands of people in Indonesia took part in the third day of protests against a sweeping law cutting protections for workers and the environment.

Riot police fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters in the nation’s capital, Jakarta, where authorities said they had detained more than 800 people as protesters defied a ban on gathering amid the COVID-19 pandemic and attempted to march on the presidential palace.

Protesters threw rocks at police and burned a police post and two transit stops, as leaders of a national strike said the violence was not affiliated with the labor action.

The protests were sparked by a 900-page omnibus bill amending more than 75 laws allowing companies to cut pay for workers, eliminate days off and hire contract workers.

It also relaxed environmental standards, only requiring businesses to file an environmental impact analysis for projects that are considered high risk.

The government said the law is designed to strengthen the economy amid negative impacts due to the pandemic by opening it to more foreign investment.

“We want to simplify the licensing and bureaucracy [process], we want speed, so a harmonization of law is needed to create speedy services, speedy policymaking so that Indonesia would be faster to respond to every world change,” President Joko Widodo told the BBC.

A coalition of 15 activist groups, including trade unions, have opposed the bill and called on workers to join a national strike.

“It is staggering that while Indonesia is, like other countries, facing the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic the government would seek to further destabilize people’s lives and ruin their livelihoods so that foreign companies can extract wealth from the country,” said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.

Organizers said protests have been held in more than 60 locations and that about 1 million people have participated in walkouts each day.

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Amtrak says 2,400 jobs could be cut without government bailout

  • Amtrak said Thursday that it could be forced to cut spending that could result in the loss of another 2,400  jobs in total.
  • Amtrak told Congress last month that it would need $4.9 billion in government funding as the pandemic continues to wreck the nation’s economy.
  • The US passenger railroad service already said in September that it was cutting 2,000 jobs.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

U.S. government-supported passenger railroad Amtrak said on Thursday that without a new government bailout it could be forced to cut more spending and train services which could lead to the loss of another 2,400 jobs.

Amtrak last month told Congress it needs up to $4.9 billion in government funding for the current budget year, up from the around $2 billion in annual support it usually receives.

The railroad, which said last month it was cutting 2,000 jobs, said on Thursday that without more support from Congress, reduced capital spending would result in the loss of 775 jobs and further reductions in train service by state partners would likely result in 1,625 job losses.

Without the new funding, Amtrak chief executive Bill Flynn said, “we will be unable to avoid more drastic impacts that could have long lasting effects on our Northeast Corridor infrastructure and the national rail system.”

U.S. transit and airline demand has been devastated by a massive falloff in travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In April, Congress gave Amtrak a $1 billion bailout after daily ridership fell by 96%.

Amtrak said on Thursday demand remains at about 25% of pre-COVID levels. It forecasts ridership and revenue for the 2020-21 budget year that started Oct. 1 will improve to “about 40% of pre-COVID levels, which is weaker than anticipated.”

U.S. passenger airlines are seeking a new $25 billion bailout to keep tens of thousands of workers on the job, while major U.S. public transit systems have sought $32 billion to keep municipal buses and trains running.

That’s on top of a $25 billion bailout public transit received in April.

Last week, the U.S. private motorcoach, school bus and domestic passenger vessel industries said they collectively furloughed or laid off an estimated 308,000 employees over the last eight months.

“Unlike other modes of transportation, such as airlines, rail and public transit, these transportation industries have not received direct economic relief to date, putting them in peril,” several trade groups said in a joint statement.

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