UNAIR NEWS – On Friday afternoon, April 24, 2020, Human Rights Law Studies (HRLS) Faculty of Law together with Kontras Surabaya and Solidarity of Indonesian Workers (SPBI) Surabaya held a public discussion via Zoom. The discussion was about the Protection of Workers’ Rights during Large-Scale Social Distancing (PSBB) because there have been large scale layoffs or wages reduction as the company has lost money with the declining economy due to COVID-19 pandemic.
This discussion was motivated by the issuance of East Java Governor’s Regulation (Pergub) No. 18 of 2020 concerning PSBB Guidelines in Handling COVID-19 in East Java, areas of Surabaya, Sidoarjo, and Gresik will be put into effect PSBB for 14 days, from next Tuesday, April 28 to Monday, May 11.
Dr. Herlambang P Wiratraman S.H., MA, as the speaker and researcher of HRLS, explained that PSBB policies from both central administration and East Java government were not made using a human rights approach. It results in the non-fulfillment of workers’ rights which are clearly affected in this pandemic.
The example presented by Herlambang to support his argument on meeting basic needs or assistance from the government for affected communities that is only guaranteed during PSBB. In view of Law No. 24 of 2007 concerning Disaster Management which was used as a consideration in the formation of the Governor’s Regulation said that the affected communities were entitled to get assistance from the government during the disaster.
“With the cessation of UMKM for 14 days, there is a high possibility that entrepreneurs will have a hard time rebuilding their businesses after 2 weeks of not earning income. It is unfortunate that the economic stimulus for them is not considered by the government, “explained UNAIR Constitutional Law expert.
Another problem described by Dr. Herlambang is a high potential for violations of authority and violations of workers’ rights. This is related to the number of companies that lay off workers on the basis of a Circular Letter from the Ministry of Manpower. The nature of the circular letter is not legislation, but as a policy regulation (beschikking) which only bind state officials.
“Another example that I often meet and hear is when the police simply disband informal traders’ business. Yet, when they were asked why they continue to do business amid this pandemic, they will not have money to eat if they do not work. Of course this is an afterthought because apparently government assistance does not reach their hands, “said the Leiden University alumnus.
Author: Pradnya Wicaksana
Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia