280,000 Indonesia’s furniture sector workers laid off

Abdul Sobur, Secretary General of the Indonesian Furniture and Crafts Industry Association (HIMKI), has reported that, in addition to the thousands of workers laid off in the retail, hotel, and restaurant sectors, furniture manufacturers have indicated that they have had to lay off some 280,000 workers, reported ITTO.

Indonesian furniture industries are labour intensive with around 2.1 million employed. The current crisis has meant that furniture companies have had to make cuts in production which has impacted labour.

The HIMKI has 3,500 member companies and there are around 400,000 workers in the factories but as of midApril about 70% are laid off”. One main problem is that many export destinations are closed to shipments in others importers have asked for delayed shipments.

Sobur has determined that large sized HIMKI member companies may be able to retain employees for around 8 weeks but for medium and small companies they will not be able to equal the 8 week wage payments.

Sobur urged the government to quickly disburse Direct Cash Assistance (BLT) to employees who were laid off to sustain their livelihood.

The corona epidemic in Indonesia has had a devastating impact on workers as many businesses in all sectors have shut down and furloughed or laid off their employees.

Ministry of Manpower data shows that over a million workers in about 75,000 companies in the formal and informal sectors have either been told to stay home or have been laid off .

Ida Fauziyah, Minister of Manpower, urged companies to make layoffs their last choice. She said options could be to reduce wages or reduce working days. The media reports her as saying “The (current) situation and conditions are indeed challenging but this is the moment for the government, business people and workers to work together and find a solution to mitigate the impact of COVID-19”.