About 3,000 cigarette workers rallied in front of the Customs and Excise Office in Malang, East Java, on Monday to protest the government’s decision to increase cigarette excise effective in January next year.
“The increase of excise tax only burdens small cigarette producers,” rally coordinator Heri Susianto said in his oration, as quoted by tempointeraktif.com.
Heri predicted that more and more small cigarette producers would be forced to close their businesses because people could not afford to buy their products due to the increasing excise tax.
Cigarette workers union spokesman M. Chotib Hutabarat said that many of the union members were women, and their income was decreasing.
Suminah, who works for a cigarette company in Malang, Sorgum, said that she got less and less work from Sorgum as its sales also dropped.
“Because of the increase in excise tax, the sales price of our products also increases, consequently and less and less people can afford to buy,” she said.