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Jakarta Post

Govt urged to strengthen protection of plantation workers

  • Gemma Holliani Cahya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, April 30, 2018   /   08:43 pm
Govt urged to strengthen protection of plantation workers Prime commodity: A worker moves bunches of oil palm fruit at a plantation in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

Environmental group Sawit Watch has called on the government to issue a special regulation for oil palm plantation workers, arguing that the 2003 Manpower Law does not adequately address their needs.

“A special regulation on oil palm plantation workers is needed. […] Their jobs have unique characteristics, while current regulations mainly focus on industrial sector or manufacturing workers,” Sawit Watch labour expert Hotler Parsaoran told journalists at a press conference about palm oil workers on Sunday.

Hotler said almost all oil palm plantation laborers in Indonesia experienced problems, such as an unclear working status, child labor practices, a lack of health and safety protection, low wages and union busting.

He was speaking on the eve of International Workers Day, also known as May Day, when workers across Indonesia are expected to take to the streets to fight for their rights.

This year, they specifically call on the government to revoke Government Regulation No. 78/2015 on wages, which they deem unfair.

Around 30,000 workers from 35 organizations, including Migrant Care, Kontras and LBH Jakarta, will participate in a long march that will be concentrated at the State Palace on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, around 150,000 people will also stage May Day rallies in other cities, including Bandung (West Java),  Denpasar (Bali), Malang (East Java), Medan (North Sumatra), Surakarta (Central Java) and Pekanbaru (Riau). (ebf)