Thu, Dec 25, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Jakarta official urges labor fixes

Staff Writer, with CNA, Jakarta

The Indonesian government might soon stop allowing female domestic helpers work in other nations, but has said that it would maintain the flow of workers to Taiwan if working conditions — such as wages and hours — improve.

Nusron Wahid, head of the Agency of Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers, on Tuesday confirmed Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla’s recent remarks that Jakarta would no longer allow female workers to emigrate to other countries within five years.

The policy — proposed to protect Indonesian migrant workers’ rights and benefits — focuses particularly on the interests of workers in so-called “informal sectors,” Wahid said in an interview with the Central News Agency.

Indonesia’s government plans to continue its efforts to secure the treatment and benefits for workers in “formal sectors” — such as at factories and companies — for informal sector workers.

Wahid said that Indonesia is preparing to stop exporting domestic helpers in 2017.

Wahid was appointed by Indonesian President Joko Widodo after Widodo was inaugurated in October.

The government has made improving the rights and benefits of migrant workers and overall labor conditions one of its top priorities, he said.

Understanding Taiwan’s need for Indonesian domestic helpers, Wahid suggested a solution to maintain the flow of workers into informal sectors.

Taiwan should comprehensively raise wages for Indonesian domestic helpers based on its own minimum-wage regulations, and work hours should be limited to a level consistent with local law, Wahid said.

Domestic helpers should not be on call 24 hours a day and should not live under the same roof as their employers, but be housed in dormitories, Wahid said.

If Taiwan can fulfill those requests, migrant worker will be allowed to immigrate there even after 2017, he said.

In negotiations with Indonesia earlier this month, Taiwan rejected a request to raise wages for Indonesian domestic helpers.

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