Workers shouts slogans during a protest at the Jakarta Industrial Estate yesterday.
JAKARTA: Tens of thousands of workers went on strike across Indonesia yesterday, in the latest industrial action to hit Southeast Asia’s top economy as its citizens seek a greater share of the spoils from stellar growth.
But the police estimate of participation in the strike was only around 100,000, far below the three million unions had predicted, taking some pressure off the government and employers who are seeking to limit wage increases.
Unions earlier claimed two million downed tools on day one of the two-day nationwide strike, but crowds appeared small in many cities and police forces across the country mostly reported only minor walk-outs.
The strike was called for workers to demand hefty pay rises as the cost of living skyrockets due to surging inflation, which has been driven up in recent months by an unpopular fuel price hike.
While the industrial action was smaller than anticipated, it still closed many factories around the country that produce everything from clothes to electronics, often for international companies.
By far the biggest strikes were in Jakarta and the industrial hub of Bekasi just outside the capital, with around 60,000 people walking out in the area.
Security was tight with more than 150,000 police mobilised across the country.
Hundreds of strikers rode motorcycles, waved banners and shouted: “Long live the workers” and “Raise our pay”.