A group of textile workers in Indonesia have taken the first step towards a better future for their livelihoods by demanding better working conditions, unionization, better pay and better conditions of living, according to the Associated Press.
The workers, who have collectively called themselves the Indonesian Textile Workers Union (ITWU), say their wages are too low, and that many of their jobs are being outsourced to China.
The ITWU is demanding that Indonesia improve conditions for its textile workers, and a number of other labor issues including minimum wage, overtime and pension are also being considered.
“We’re calling for better working standards,” said Tuan Sujanto, a member of the ITWu who spoke to the AP.
“We’re asking for a minimum wage that’s at least $2 per hour and that we can live in comfort, in safety, that our pay should be sufficient for us to support our families.”
The ITWau said that as of now, they have about 2,600 members in the textile industry in Indonesia, including 300 in the capital city of Jakarta, and the rest in the provinces of Kalimantan and Aceh.
“If we can raise the minimum wage to $2.60, we can support our family members who have a lower salary, which is very hard,” Sujantosaid.
“Even if we don’t have a lot of money, we have to work.
We are living a very precarious existence, because we are not receiving enough money.”
In the past, the Indonesian textile industry has been struggling with the loss of foreign investment and a sharp rise in unemployment.
It has also been criticized for the labor abuses and poor working conditions in the industry.
Many of the workers have been denied basic rights, such as basic health and social services, which some have said is the reason for their poor living conditions.
Indonesia has the largest textile industry of any country in the world.
It is estimated that around 10 percent of the country’s textile workers are women.
Sujanto added that the ITU has received support from several Indonesian unions, including the Indonesian National Confederation of Labor (KNCL), the Indonesian Federation of Textile Contractors (FIAT), the International Confederation of Workers and Trade Unions (ICWU) and the Indonesian Labor Confederation (ILC).
In May, Indonesian Prime Minister Joko Widodo appointed Sujantso as his ambassador to the ITZU.