JAKARTA (April 26, 1997 02:13 a.m. EDT - Scores of people were injured in a riot by some 10,000 workers from a Nike shoe factory who were demanding higher wages, reports said Saturday.
Workers for an Indonesian contractor for U.S.-based Nike athletic shoe manufacturer staged a rally for better pay Friday at a factory near Jakarta, factory, the Republika daily said.
Protesters went on a rampage, throwing objects at the factory buildings of PT Hardaya Aneka Shoes Industry (HASI and damaging vehicles, it said.
The riot was quelled by hundreds of anti-riot police and military troops who were deployed to secure the factory compound. There have been no reports of arrests in the incident.
Two workers had to be taken to hospital after they were trampled by other workers, while many others suffered light injuries, it said, adding that a security guard was badly beaten when he tried to stop a crowd from pelting the building.
The factory was shut Saturday, a HASI employee said, adding that "the workers have been given the day off."
On Tuesday, the factory workers staged a noisy but peaceful march from their factory to the local legislative building to demand a minimum monthly wage increase from $71 to $82.
HASI executives agreed to the wage increase after meeting with workers' representatives, local legislators and members of the state-controled workers' union (SPSI.
The riot in Friday however was triggered by workers still unhappy over the outcome of the meeting, the Republika quoted one worker as saying.
HASI managing director Fredy Yulianto expressed exasperation Friday, saying that his company was "unable" to raise wages further than what was agreed on Tuesday, the Media Indonesia daily said.
Meanwhile, some 2,000 workers from another shoe producer, PT Surya Achiles, in nearby Bekasi, also staged a peaceful strike Friday demanding better pay. The factory could not be contacted for comments Saturday.
The government in January announced an average minimum wage hike of 10 percent that was to become effective this month. However many businesses have claimed they were unable to meet the wage rises.
Manpower ministry official Bomer Pasaribu warned that labor unrest could disturb the upcoming national elections, scheduled for May 29, the Kompas daily said.
Pasaribu urged companies to meet the minimum wage levels and negotiate properly with their workers.
The number of officially recorded labour strikes in Indonesia in 1996 rose 41.9 percent to 901 cases, compared to the prvious year, Manpower Minister Abdul Latief said in January.