Project SynopsisThe project’s objective is to ensure that Indonesian unions in the palm oil supply chain effectively advocate for their members’ access to fundamental workers’ rights, in particular freedom of association and collective bargaining. This initiative builds on the past ILO work in Indonesia’s palm oil sector and aims to help to improve workers’ access to labour rights (and better-quality jobs), contributing to improved compliance through strengthened capacity of enterprises to implement core labour standards and national labour laws, and to expanded rule of law at both national and local levels. It does so by inter alia promoting social dialogue and strengthening the capacity of unions to effectively engage in it with employers and government and to advocate for their members; supporting the strengthening and enforcement of national legislation on labour issues and collecting and disseminating knowledge on employment and labour issues in the palm oil supply chain. In addition to plantations, the project is targeting crude palm oil factories, oleo chemical factories, as well as selected food and beverage industry actors that use palm oil as a main ingredient.
In Malaysia, the project aims to contribute to the elimination of child labour and forced labour in oil palm plantations by supporting the Malaysian Government’s implementation of the recommendations in the 2018 Employment Surveys on Oil Palm Plantations, improving the labour recruitment and management system in the Malaysian palm oil sector, sensitizing community leaders, employers and workers on forced labour and child labour issues, developing a pilot community-based complaints mechanism on forced labour, strengthening the capacity of employers to mitigate risks of forced labour and child labour in oil palm plantations, and significantly increasing the participation of migrant workers in trade unions in the plantations sector so they can be included in collective bargaining agreements.
Project StrategyThe project follows a two-pronged strategy, which distinguishes between “institutional development” and “direct support”. The former aims at advancing the functioning of the rural labour market by strengthening the capacity of government and all relevant stakeholders to address decent work deficits facing the rural economy. The latter focuses on the implementation of integrated measures to promote productive employment at the enterprise/plantation level. It includes targeted action to tackle specific problems faced by enterprises/plantations, as well as smallholders engaged in the palm oil sector, with particular attention being paid to youth and women. By combining upstream and downstream level work, the project aims to ensure the long-term sustainability of its interventions while demonstrating concrete achievements on the ground. The latest phase of the project also involves new activities to address recent challenges that include the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and new labour regulations while ensuring that they contribute to the overall project objective.
In Indonesia, national-level activities are implemented in Jakarta, while activities at the provincial and local level target North and South Sumatra, Aceh, Riau and North, East, South and Central Kalimantan.
In Malaysia, project activities are being carried out in Peninsular Malaysia as well as Sabah and Sarawak.
Project Work AreasProject results are being achieved through the activities described under the respective outcomes as follows:
IndonesiaOutcome 1: In-depth knowledge is generated about opportunities and challenges for the promotion of freedom of association and collective bargaining and effective social dialogue in the sector.
Outcome 2: National-level coordination and engagement among trade unions in the palm oil supply chain and their capacity to advocate for their members is strengthened through the effective functioning of the national union network.
Outcome 3: At the enterprise/local level, labour unions and workers in the sectors/sub-sectors of the palm oil supply chain, in particular plantation workers, have better capacity to advocate for and access their rights.
Outcome 4: Sound industrial relations are facilitated through strengthened capacity of the tripartite constituents to participate meaningfully in social dialogue.
MalaysiaOutcome 1: Improve labour recruitment and management system in the Malaysian palm oil sector.
Outcome 2: Pilot community-based complaints mechanism, and sensitize community leaders, employers and workers on forced labour and child labour issues.
Outcome 3: Strengthen capacity of employers to mitigate risks in oil palm plantations.
Outcome 4: Strengthen capacity of trade unions in organizing local and migrant workers in the plantations and in engaging in collective bargaining agreements.
IndonesiaUltimate beneficiaries: Workers, both men and women, in permanent as well as non-standard forms of employment (i.e. casual, daily, etc.) across the palm oil supply chain, including plantations and small-scale producers and smallholder farmers engaged in contract arrangements with plantations managed by companies. The project envisages reaching at least 20,000 workers in the palm oil supply chain. Special attention is paid to the improvement of working conditions of women on plantations who, despite being integral to plantation labour, are often underrepresented in worker organizations and decision-making processes.
Direct beneficiaries: Trade unions, federations and confederations representing workers across the palm oil supply chain, employers’ associations and policymakers, and staff from national and local institutions, among them various government ministries and technical departments.
MalaysiaUltimate beneficiaries: Local and migrant workers in the sector, along with employers and members of the public. The project envisages reaching at least 6,000 individuals through piloted community-based awareness-raising programmes in 6 districts (1000 per district), on forced labour, child labour and human labour trafficking issues. Furthermore, a knowledge sharing system where information about forced labour and child labour including good practices are made accessible to at least 2000 users, 8 workshops on good practices for developing company action plans on addressing forced labour and child labour in the sector, encompassing 8 companies including their supply chains. Lastly, the project aims to reach 1,000 trade union members and leaders in the sector and train 50 union leaders on the fundamental principles and rights at work.
Direct beneficiaries: Trade unions, oil palm plantation companies and their supply chains, palm oil associations, community-based organizations, and workers in the palm oil sector.
- Ministry of Manpower
- Ministry of Agriculture
- Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs
- Trade Union Confederations and Federations
- Indonesia Trade Union Networks in Palm Oil
- Indonesia Employers' Association (APINDO)
- Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI)
- Ministry of Human Resources
- Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities
- Malaysian Trades Union Congress and National Union of Plantation Workers
- Palm oil industry associations
- Diplomatic missions of Indonesia and the Philippines in Malaysia
- Local authorities
- Civil society organizations