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The Cost of Life (Saving) is Cheap

Bali’s Lifeguards Having a Hard Time Staying Afloat Financially


Bali News: Bali, Indonesia, Balawista, lifeguard service, Wayan Sandra, wages of lifeguards, insurance coverage
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(8/23/2014)

A group of 17 lifesavers representing members of the Bali Lifeguard Association (Balawista) and accompanied by Wayan Sandra - a member of the Badung House of Representatives (DPRD-Badung), have paid a call on the Badung Tourism Service to question the salary paid to those who guard Bali’s more crowded beaches.

As reported by DenPost, the average wage paid to a Balawista in Bali is only Rp. 1,728,000 (US$150) a month.

Although this amount is in keeping with the official minimum wage for Badung, the lifeguards claim that their rate of pay is not in keeping with their training requirements and the inherent risks in their work.

Sandra told of how a lifeguard was recently injured in the course of his lifesaving duties resulting in injuries that required treatment costing Rp. 7.5 million (US$652). The Badung Tourism service offered the man Rp. 500,000 (US$44), an amount the lifeguard in indignation refused.

The legislator said he was disgusted by the neglect endured by those who risk their lives on a daily basis to keep Bali’s beaches safe. Sandra called on the regional government of Badung to provide insurance coverage to lifeguards. “I am sure that if the lifeguards weren’t on duty on our beaches the tourists would refuse to visit Kuta beach,” he said.

It was also pointed out that the manner in which lifeguards are employed as contract workers was in violation of Indonesian labor law. While the law only allows contract workers to be employed for a maximum period of two years there are a number of lifeguards who have worked for as much as 8 years without guarantee of permanent employment.

There are currently 168 lifeguards working in Badung, 123 of which are classified as “contract workers.”

The government is promising to try to increase the current salary level of lifeguards to Rp. 1,980,000 (US$172) per month in 2015.

There are no plans at present to include insurance coverage for the Bali lifeguard service.

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