Enhancing social dialogues for decent working conditions in Indonesia’s fishing industry

Work in fishing is a hazardous occupation. Labour rights challenges in the fisheries sector such as weak labour inspection, poor occupational safety and health (OSH) and other problems related to working conditions can be improved through social dialogues among relevant parties.

News | 01 August 2022
Indonesian fishers (c) ILO/G. Lingga.
The ILO organized a series of activities to facilitate a tripartite dialogue in fishing sector in three areas known as a fishing area from June to July 2022. The first dialogue was conducted in Semarang, Central Java, followed by Bandung, West Java and Manado, North Sulawesi.

Informalization is still the majority of the workers in each provincial and fishing sector. Thus, social dialogue is becoming more important to ensure workers’ protection and continuation of the business."

Arun Kumar, ILO’s Specialist on Industrial Relations
These activities discussed the challenges in implementing social dialogues and in promoting collective bargaining in fishing sector at the provincial level, particularly these three provinces. These activities also examined ways to enhance dispute resolutions and grievance mechanisms at various levels of the fishing sector from company level to provincial level as an integral part the social dialogues.

Indonesia, a country with the largest workforce in the ASEAN region, has made a significant economic progress over the last two decades; however, not all of these progresses have been translated into decent work. Fishing sector is one of the sectors that has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and it is still experiencing decent work deficit.

Arun Kumar, ILO’s Specialist on Industrial Relations, emphasized that “social dialogue is not about ‘’who is right, but what is right’’. “Social dialogues do not end the differences, but they encourage willingness to deal with differences through dialogues and compromises,” he said.

He also explained that there is no “one size fits all” model of social dialogue as forms, levels and scopes of social dialogues differs depending on the country’s need, culture and agreement among parties involved. “Informalization is still the majority of the workers in each provincial and fishing sector. Thus, social dialogue is becoming more important to ensure workers’ protection and continuation of the business,” he added.

To support the sustainability of Indonesia’s fisheries industry, the ILO is currently implementing three complementary projects in Indonesia, aimed at achieving decent work in the fisheries sector and the protection of Indonesia fishers.
  • Ship to Shore Rights South East Asia (SEA) is a multi-country, multi-annual initiative of the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN), implemented by the ILO in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and aimed to promote regular and safe labour migration and decent work for all migrant workers in the fishing and seafood processing sectors in South East Asia.
  • The 8.7 Accelerator Lab programme (8.7ACC Lab) is an ILO’s global programme to accelerate progress on the eradication of forced labour and child labour by optimising the effectiveness of development cooperation interventions. The 8.7 ACC Lab targets interventions at national, regional, and global levels, leveraging use of strategic entry points. In its initial phase, the programme focuses on eradicating forced labour in the fishing sector and is partnering with Indonesia, South Africa and Ghana at the national level.
  • The ILO’s Improving Workers’ Rights in Rural Sectors of the Indo-Pacific with a focus on Women aims to contribute to ensuring and sustaining improved working conditions, especially for women workers, through the improvement and promotion of labour laws compliance, occupational safety and health and gender equality in the rural sectors in the Philippines and Indonesia.
Through these projects, the ILO continues to support the Indonesian government in strengthening the legal and policy framework and its enforcement to protect in-country Indonesian fishers and those working abroad on foreign fleets.

“Through these series of activities, the ILO continues to support its social partners enhancing their capacity on social dialogue and collective bargaining as the effective way to build commitment and ownership to recovery, social dialogue, labour inspection mechanisms and occupational safety and health (OSH),” concluded Lusiani Julia, the ILO’s programme officer.