Jokowi meets Indonesian migrant workers in Brunei

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, during his visit to Brunei, yesterday met with several hundreds of Indonesia migrant workers to hear their grievances including the regulation of employment agencies, hefty recruitment fees and contract substitution, The Brunei Times reported.

Joko, while on a two-day visit ending Sunday, heard widespread problems faced by migrant workers from his country when they met at the Indonesian embassy in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Contract substitution and hefty salary deductions to repay high recruitment fees were some of the most common complaints cited by workers.

During a question and answer session, a woman said the burden of repaying recruitment fees — that can run as high as $2,000 — was too much, when she only earned a salary of a few hundred a month.  She asked the president to look into regulation of Indonesian employment agencies, and to standardise recruitment fees and employment contracts to avoid putting unnecessary financial burden on migrant workers.

Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno LP Marsudi, told reporters that an upcoming labour agreement between Brunei and Indone-sia aims to address this issue, but that details of the agreement are still being discussed.

Earlier on Saturday night, Joko was given the award, named the Most Esteemed Family Order Laila Utama, by Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah on Saturday night.