When I was still in my education, I never paid attention to many demonstrations held by the workers in Indonesia to ask for better salary to the company. Now, after I am myself in the age to work, I know why.
Indonesian worker’s salary is one of the lowest in Asia. The minimum payment for workers in big cities in Indonesia is amongst $100-200. That’s supposedly for uneducated worker/labor. But ironically, even fresh graduate from university is treated the same way, even worse.
At least that happened in Surabaya, the big city where I used to look for a job. From my experience when looking for a job there in 2011 and early 2012, it looked like a taboo if fresh graduate asked for more than $200 as a salary per month, except if you applied in IT/medical field, management trainee, or oil company. Most of the company there usually hired fresh graduate or the ones with less than 1 year experience with the same salary as labor, $100-200. Even there were some companies which paid them below $100. If they refused that salary, the choice only get out from the job and search for another vacancy. And if you don’t know, it is very difficult to get a job in Indonesia which has 200 millions citizens and more than a half of them compete to get not-so-many- jobs. As one of the fresh graduate, I do feel pity for our life.
I mean, what’s the meaning for university degree if the scholars—even if they are fresh graduate—treated the same way as labor? With respect for labor, even if fresh graduate doesn’t have much experiences in the job, at least we have through some more educations for a few years. It is not easy to get university degree, so I think we do deserve a bit appreciation for our hard work. Maybe that will happen if our salary is higher. But the reality is different. It is as though our university degree is nothing more than requirement to apply in the job vacancy and regardless of our education, we will get the same salary as uneducated workers. That is not fair.
While the company makes millions dollars profit with the bosses are extremely rich and their families live like royals, we must think extra hard to survive with very low salary. Forget about holiday, we must be wise to spend our money so it will cover our daily needs. That’s for a single man. How about’s the ones with family? How they can provide their children with good education and decent food, clothes, house, or toys? No wonder Indonesians have big tendencies in corruption. Their salaries are not enough to cover their lifes!
I just hope that Indonesian government will pay attention to this. Not only the company’s owners who deserve a good life, the workers do too! We also want to taste the good things in this world, such as have a nice home and car, good education for kids, and maybe some trips to overseas. But that seems to be imagination except the government fix the amount of minimum salary for workers (and it will be better if it’s arranged based on education to provide more accurate information as how much the scholars must be paid or else).
That’s it, I think. May God bless Indonesia >0<