Workers' and Employers' Organizations in Indonesia

The ILO’s tripartite structure is unique within the United Nations system and gives workers’ and employers’ representatives an equal voice with governments in shaping ILO policies and programmes. Social dialogue between these three parties underpins the ILO’s work, and the ILO helps to develop the capacity of these organizations so they can effectively support and represent their members.

Workers’ organizations are independent and democratic trade unions that protect and support workers’ rights and interests at the national and regional level. As such, they play a key role in civil society. There are three major union confederations in Indonesia: KSBSI, KSPSI and KSPI.

Trade unions in Indonesia face some major challenges, including promoting the right to organize and bargain collectively, lack of protection of migrant workers’ rights, forced, bonded and child labour, gender inequality, balancing the issue of labour flexibility and job security especially for the contract and outsource workers, lack of social security and persistent poverty.

Employers’ organizations represent the interests of business as these relate to labour and social policy at the national and international levels. They play a crucial role in shaping a supportive environment for competitive, sustainable enterprises, which are essential for economic and social development. They also provide services that improve and guide the individual performance of enterprises including promoting employee management cooperation, link the wages with productivity, and development of women entrepreneurship in the small and medium industries. Employers’ organizations play a critical role in any social dialogue process and help to ensure that national social and economic objectives are properly and effectively formulated, take into account of the needs of business and promote sound economic development.

Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo) is the only officially recognized employer’s organization in Indonesia to deal with industrial relations and human resource development issues as mandated by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce. Its vision is to create a better business environment for business community in order to develop harmonious industrial relations.

The ILO response

Strengthening tripartism and bipartite workplace relations are strategies that the ILO in Indonesia have implemented to strengthen the capacities of its tripartite constituents, in particular workers’ and employers’ organizations, to engage in, and promote, the use of social dialogue to address workplace, as well as local and national socio-economic, concerns.

To strengthen the capacities of employers’ and workers’ organizations in carrying out their mandates and responsibilities, the ILO has organized joint and individual programmes and activities in the formats of workshops, trainings, dialogues and studies. Supports given to Apindo are focused on bipartite dialogue at the enterprise level, women entrepreneurship development, and the improvement of the training capacity of Apindo; while the activities for trade unions are focused on issues related to the freedom of association and collective bargaining, social security and occupational safety and health.