Indonesian businesses lose income from strike

INDONESIA - The Riau branch of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) Riau says the two-day provincewide strike resulted in a revenue loss of Rp 220 billion (S$24 million) to the business sector in Batam as workers walked off their jobs to join the strike, forcing factories to suspend operations.

The losses could get even higher if a two-day national strike from Oct.31 to Nov.1 takes place as scheduled.

Kadin Riau caretaker chairman Nada Faza Soraya said factories in Batam had stopped operations since Monday due to the strike.

"We hope there will be no more strikes because it has heavily affected businesses here," said Nada in Batam, on Tuesday.

"A company that produces lenses in Batam for 70 per cent of the global market has stopped operations due to the strike. Just imagine the losses it will suffer. Many other companies in Batam will stop operating if the national strike takes place on Thursday, possibly causing even greater losses," said Nada.

She said Kadin Riau hoped that workers' associations would cancel their plans to hold a national strike because it would heavily affect export-oriented businesses in Batam.

"This could set a bad precedent for the investment climate in the Special Economic Zone because during the past year, workers' rallies have often taken place. We urge the government to be more proactive in accommodating the workers' aspirations so that they don't have to strike," said Nada.

Workers in Batam said the provincial minimum wage in 2014 should be increased to Rp 3.4 million. The proposal was calculated based on a survey of the workers basic cost of living using 84 necessities.

A survey conducted by the Riau Renumeration Board only included 60 basic necessities.