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Tens of thousands of factory workers in Indonesia went on strike on Wednesday to demand better working conditions and pay, as well as an end to temporary contracts used by employers to avoid hiring permanent staff.
There have been reports that more than two million people have taken part in the strike yesterday, according to labour unions.
The workers participated in the one-day strike, leaving some factories unable to operate for the day. Protestors demanded the revision of a law that allows firms to recruit temporary staff for a one-year period without offering benefits and certain labour rights.
“Although the intention of the law is to create solid jobs, companies are reluctant to hire because they realise that it is very difficult to terminate a contract, even if you have a legitimate cause,” said Andrew White, the managing director of the American chamber of commerce in Indonesia to the Financial Times.
Therefore companies turn to flexible workforce models to avert the strict law, using outsourcing and staffing companies instead to hire workers on a temporary basis.
But unions have criticised this practice saying it leaves temporary workers vulnerable to exploitation, also depriving them of basic labour rights and social benefits. They say that outsourced workers have become victims of the current labour law as companies do not want to hire permanent employees because they then have to pay pensions and follow stricter labour rights.