Raising the awareness on new labour standard to combat violence and harassment in Indonesia

Following up the adoption of a new Convention and Recommendation to combat violence and harassment at the workplace, the ILO conducted an awareness raising event to its constituents in Indonesia.

News | Jakarta, Indonesia | 17 October 2019
For the first time violence and harassment in the world of work are covered in new international labour standards, adopted by the Centenary International Labour Conference. The Violence and Harassment Convention No. 190/2019 and its accompanying Recommendation No. 206/2019 recognize that violence and harassment in the world of work “can constitute a human right violation or abuse… is a threat to equal opportunities, is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.”

Dissemination of the ILO Convention 190 in Indonesia

We recognize the importance of this Convention as the workplaces should be free from violence and harassment. The workplaces should a safer place for both workers and employers."

Secretary General of the Ministry of Manpower, Chairul Anwar
Recognizing the importance of this Convention, the ILO with support from its tripartite constituents—Ministry of Manpower, the Indonesian Employers’ Organization (Apindo) and the four trade union confederations—conducted the first dissemination workshop titled “Stop Violence and Harassment at the Workplace” on 10 October in Jakarta.

This important issue received a good attention with an unexpected attendance of more than 100 participants. In addition to the tripartite constituents, the participants represented various organizations from academia, migrant worker organizations, women’s organizations, mass media and so forth.

Interestingly, most of them, including young workers, highlighted the importance of workplace with respectful working environment. They put the importance of respect above other employment issues such as wages, freedom of association and so forth. Without respect, there is no dignity at work."

Michiko Miyamoto, Country Director of the ILO in Indonesia
The workshop was aimed to provide better understanding and knowledge about this issue at the national level as a way to promote the ratification of the Convention and to a put the recognition of everyone’s right to a world of work free from violence and harassment into practice.

Secretary General of the Ministry of Manpower, Chairul Anwar, highlighted the importance of this Convention for the country. “We recognize the importance of this Convention as the workplaces should be free from violence and harassment. The workplaces should a safer place for both workers and employers,” he said in his remarks read by the representative from the Ministry of Manpower, Prasida Aharsa.

Michiko Miyamoto, Country Director of the ILO in Indonesia, revealed comments gathered on decent work from the celebration of the ILO’s centenary in the country. “Interestingly, most of them, including young workers, highlighted the importance of workplace with respectful working environment. They put the importance of respect above other employment issues such as wages, freedom of association and so forth. Without respect, there is no dignity at work,” she exclaimed.

The protection provided by the Convention

Tim De Meyer, the ILO’s Senior Specialist for International Labour Standards, explained that the Convention aims to protect workers and employers, irrespective of their contractual status, and includes persons in training, interns and apprentices, workers whose employment has been terminated, volunteers, job seekers and job applicants.

Tim De Meyer, the ILO’s Senior Specialist for International Labour Standards
The standard covers violence and harassment occurring in the workplace; places where a worker is paid, takes a rest or meal break, or uses sanitary, washing or changing facilities; during work-related trips, travel, training , events or social activities; work-related communications (including through information and communication technologies), in employer-provided accommodation; and when commuting to and from work. It also recognizes that violence and harassment may involve third parties.

In addition to the law developments, mindset changes and company policies play an important role, including the establishment of complaint and investigation procedures as well as dispute resolution mechanism at the workplace level."

Tim De Meyer, the ILO’s Senior Specialist for International Labour Standards
He also drew the attention to the fact that some professions in certain sectors, positions and work arrangements were more vulnerable to violence and harassment. “Those who work in health, transportation, education and household sectors or at night or in remote areas are highlight susceptible to voice and abuse,” he said.

Tim also referred to the case of Baiq Nuril as one of the real example of violence and harassment in Indonesia. “In addition to the law developments, mindset changes and company policies play an important role, including the establishment of complaint and investigation procedures as well as dispute resolution mechanism at the workplace level,” he added.

The case captured national attention, including mass media, when the teacher Nuril was found guilty by the Supreme Court of violating the Electronic Information and Transaction (TIE) Law and sentenced to six months in jail and a fine of Rp 5oo million (USD 34,644) for circulating a recording of a reportedly vulgar phone call between her and the principal of the school who employed her. Nuril was later granted amnesty by the President, but the case has sparked an outcry from experts and activists as well as other victims and their families.

Taking into account the huge support demonstrated during the adoption process, Tim was confident that this Convention will have speedy and widespread ratifications. Canada is one of the countries that show a strong interest for ratification, in addition to some other countries. The Convention will enter into force 12 months after two member States have ratified it.

Perspectives of Indonesian employers and workers

Responding to the importance of the Convention, the participating trade union confederations urged the government to ratify the Convention. Sulistri, chairwoman of the Food, Beverage, Tourism, Restaurant and Hotel Trade Union Federation, stated that around 20 trade unions and civil society organizations have formed an alliance to prepare for an advocacy programme in the next three months.

Around 20 trade unions and civil society organizations have formed an alliance to prepare for an advocacy programme in the next three months."

Sulistri, chairwoman of the Food, Beverage, Tourism, Restaurant and Hotel Trade Union Federation
Ida Ruwaida, a lecture from the University Indonesia, said that the strong support were needed as many victims were reluctant to report their cases in their workplaces due to a victim-blaming culture and due to some cultural norms that were still prohibit the victims to open up their cases.

Meanwhile Nikasi Ginting, Secretary General of FPE-SBSI, encourage the insertion of this issue in the collective agreement at the company level. “However, we need to make a clear definition about types of violence and harassment that can be handled at the company level.

We need to improve our education system as sexist and discriminatory actions are the results or our educatio since we were young - Myra Hanartani, Head of Manpower Regulation Committee of Apindo
Representing the Indonesian employers, Myra Hanartani, Head of Manpower Regulation Committee of Apindo, highlighted the important role of communities at all level to be part of the mindset and behaviour changes, including the education system. “We need to improve our education system as sexist and discriminative actions are the results of our education since we were young. And by the time they enter the world of work, they already have such behaviour,” she said.

During the workshop, the participants asked to fill in a small survey on their experiences related to harassment and violence at the workplace. Around 45 percent of the participants claimed that they experienced violence and harassment at the workplace; while 8 percent said not sure, and the rest said they never had such experience. Interestingly, around 80 percent claimed that their organizations have internal policy related to handle issues related to this. Concerning the ratification of ILO Convention No.190, more than 50 percent of the participants agreed that Indonesia should ratify the Convention immediately.

Participants of the workshop