August 3, 2022

Every year May 1 is observed as World Labor Day or May Day. Usually in addition to being commemorated by holding peaceful demonstrations, workers around the world also make it a day to remember who workers are and the history of their struggles. But this time Migrant Post wants to make this historic day to understand the terms Indonesian Migrant Workers (TKI), Indonesian Migrant Workers (BMI) and Indonesian Migrant Workers (PMI) which are still often debated among PMI themselves.

 Labor and Employee Terms According to History

According to Asyhadie Zaeni in the book Employment Law: Employment Relations in the Field of Employment Relations (Jakarta: PT. Raja Grafindo Persada, 2007) and Lalu Husni in Introduction to Indonesian Manpower Law (Jakarta: Raja Grafindo, 2008), the term “labor” connotes manual labor and more use energy (muscles) rather than brains in their work, for example farm laborers, construction workers, carpenters, masons, and port loading and unloading workers. Meanwhile, workers or workers, and employees have the connotation of workers who are taller and use their brains more than muscles in doing work, even though in essence they are both workers.

In the feudal era and the Dutch colonial era, the term labor was intended for unskilled workers, such as coolies, craftsmen, and others or also called blue collars . Meanwhile, the term worker is intended for nobles and people who do delicate work, such as administrative employees who usually sit behind an office desk or are also known as white collars .

However, after Indonesia’s independence, the terms “soft labor” and “crude labor” were no longer known. All people who work in the private sector, whether working for individuals or institutions are equally called laborers.

In the development of labor law in Indonesia later, the term labor was attempted to be replaced with the term worker because the term laborer tends to refer to a group that is always suppressed and is under other parties, namely the employer or entrepreneur.

Labor and Employee Terms in Language

Linguistically, the right term or designation for people who work is “workers” with the basic word “work”. The meaning of ‘work’ according to the General Guidelines for Indonesian Spelling (PUEBI) is “something done to earn a living; livelihood; work”.

In Indonesia, the term for people who work for a living or livelihood in language there are also several kinds, namely 1) Labor (people who work for other people for wages; workers), 2) Workers (people who work; people who receive wages for wages ). the results of their work; laborers; employees), 3) Labor (people who work or do something; workers, employees; people who are able to do work, both inside and outside the employment relationship), 4) Employees (workers in the office; employees) and 5) Employees (people who work in an institution or office, company, and so on with a salary or wages; employee; worker).

It is clear from the explanation above, that the meaning of the five terms is essentially the same, namely they both refer to people who work (worker).

The Government of Indonesia replaces the designation of TKI to PMI

Initially legally formal, in Law no. 13 of 2003 concerning Manpower , the drafters of the law in Indonesia use two terms at the same time, namely labor and workers, using a slash: labor/worker. With the elaboration: Worker/labor is any person who works by receiving wages or other forms of remuneration. (Article 1, paragraph 3).

Based on the law, the government uses the term TKI for its citizens who become migrant workers abroad. Meanwhile, among migrant workers, especially in Hong Kong, as awareness grows about what labor is and its struggles, most of them often refer to themselves and their groups as Indonesian Migrant Workers (BMI).

However, since 2017, after previously the term TKI was changed to “expatriate” by the Minister of Manpower M Hanif Dhakiri, the Indonesian government has officially used a single term or designation for people working abroad, namely Indonesian Migrant Workers (PMI).

According to the government, the change in the name of TKI to PMI is adjusted to Law Number 18 of 2017 concerning the Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers. By definition, PMI is every Indonesian citizen who will, is currently, or has done work by receiving wages outside the territory of the Republic of Indonesia .

The replacement of the term was also followed by the renaming of the institution from BNP2TKI (National Agency for Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers) to BP2MI, (Indonesian Migrant Worker Protection Agency) and Center for Service and Placement of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BP2TKI) to Implementer for the Placement of Indonesian Migrant Workers (P3MI).

Thus, the terms TKI, BMI, and TKW which have the same meaning as PMI should no longer be used or become a matter of debate. In my personal opinion as part of PMI, for the workers, whatever term or designation is used is no longer important than how to seek change and improve our welfare. Happy World Labor Day!

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