Court stops employment law for lack of transparency, workers rights violations
by Mathias Hariyadi

The country’s constitutional court calls for amendments to the omnibus law adopted during the pandemic to promote investments by cutting read tape. Trade unions joined in protest against the law. Some 2.92 million people enter the workforce every year in Indonesia.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesia’s Constitutional Court ruled today that the Employment Creation Act will have to be revised within two years or be deemed invalid.

The head of the Constitutional Court, Chief Justice Anwar Usman, read out the sentence during a court session.

"The omnibus law does not respect the principles of transparency established by the 1945 constitution," said the judge after the drafts of the bill were not made public.

The omnibus law (over a thousand pages long in its first version) was passed last year to promote employment and investment by reducing regulatory requirements for work permits and land purchases.

The Congress of Indonesia Unions Alliance (KASBI[*]) joined other unions to oppose the legislation.

According to KASBI general chairman Nining Elitos, “with the pandemic the basic rights of workers have been eroded.”

Law opponents challenged the employment contracts and the outsourcing system, which generates uncertainty.

“The law was supposed to be a solution to job vacancies and increase worker protection, but the reality says otherwise,” Elitos said.

Conversely, for the government, the law benefits both workers and businesses.

The Act, sponsored by the administration of President Joko Widodo, came into force in November 2020, amending more than 70 existing pieces of legislation.

It was passed amid the health crisis despite opposition from various stakeholders.

Each year 2.92 million people join the workforce in Indonesia with most seeking employment in labour-intensive industries.

As a result of the pandemic, the number of unemployed and inactive people increased across the country.

[*] Kongres Aliansi Serikat Buruh Indonesia.