Labour inspection

Indonesia strengthens joint labour inspection system in fishing sector with guidance tool

The ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab programme supports the effort to strengthen joint labour inspection system in fishing sector between the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) and the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF).

News | Bogor, West Java, Indonesia | 09 November 2023
To strengthen the joint efforts of the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower (MoM) and the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) in conducting labour inspection system in fishing sector, the ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab programme supported the coordination meeting between these two ministries in Bogor, West Java. Held on 2 November, the meeting was attended by labour and fisheries inspectors from 10 provinces known as a coastal area with a large fishing industry.

Jodelen Mitra, Global Manager of ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab programme, presented the importance of fundamental principles and rights at work that highlights the elimination of all forms of forced labour. (c) ILO/Gita Lingga

Indonesia is a maritime country and we hope that the country can make the best use of the tool to create more jobs in the fishing industry that are decent and productive and to contribute to the competitiveness of Indonesian fishing industry."

Jodelen Mitra, Global Manager of ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab programme
The coordination meeting was conducted as a follow-up to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between MoM and MMAF which includes joint labour inspection efforts applying the Field Guide for Carrying out Labour Inspection Visits On-board Fishing Vessels.

Jodelen Mitra, Global Manager of ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab programme, highlighted the importance the Field Guide as an important tool for both labour and fisheries inspectors to make Indonesian fishing industry more competitive and can provide decent and productive employment according to the international labour standards.

“Indonesia is a maritime country and we hope that the country can make the best use of the tool to create more jobs in the fishing industry that are decent and productive and to contribute to the competitiveness of Indonesian fishing industry,” she said.

As a refresher, Jodelen presented the importance of fundamental principles and rights at work that highlights the elimination of all forms of forced labour. She also emphasized relevant conventions and protocol on forced labour and elaborated the 11 indicators of forced labour that are commonly found in the work of fishing such as withholding of wages, excessive overtime, isolation, debt bondage, abusive living and working conditions, deception, intimidation, retention of identity documents, restriction of movement and sexual as well as physical harassment.

Meanwhile Phillipe Cacaud, Fisheries and Legal Expert, pointed out that labour laws generally regulate land-based work and, as a result, labour standards for fishing vessels have been scattered over several legislations. In Indonesia, for example, there are three laws that are relevant to the fishing industry: labour, shipping and fisheries laws.

“With the signed MoU and the development of the Field Guide, Indonesia has been moving ahead and the country needs to develop a strategy to roll out labour inspections throughout Indonesian provinces by identifying high risk vessels and selecting fishing ports,“ he explained.

The pilot joint labour inspection in Belawan Oceanic Fishing Port of North Sumatra last July. (c) ILO/Gita Lingga
During the discussion, labour and fisheries inspectors from some provinces shared their experiences piloting a joint labour inspection. “After piloting the joint labour inspection in Belawan Port last July, we have maintained a good coordination with the fisheries inspectors of the MMAF,” said Rajani L.S, a labour inspector from the Province of North Sumatra.

From our province, we would like to pursue the protection from work accident that has been applied in the construction sector. Thus, the fishing companies should pay the benefit for work accident in advance so that all the fishers will be protected throughout the whole fishing trip despite their membership status to the Social Security Provider for Employment (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan)."

Rajani L.S, a labour inspector from the Province of North Sumatra
He added that there is an urge for a further discussion about work accident benefit. “From our province, we would like to pursue the protection from work accident that has been applied in the construction sector. Thus, the fishing companies should pay the benefit for work accident in advance so that all the fishers will be protected throughout the whole fishing trip despite their membership status to the Social Security Provider for Employment (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan).”

Challenges faced in implementing a joint labour inspection were shared by the labour inspector from North Sulawesi, Rorong Martinus. Despite the existence of the Governor Law on Joint Labour Inspection in Bitung Port, both labour and fisheries inspectors had been facing difficulties in arranging the operationalization of the joint inspection, especially in terms of timing and coordination. “In addition to the two ministries, we need to involve other relevant stakeholders such as the Indonesian Navy and the harbour master and we do not have adequate resources for this.”

Responding to the progresses and challenges presented by the labour and fisheries inspectors, Muhamad Nour, National Coordinator of the ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab Programme in Indonesia, emphasized the importance of developing a legal basis for the use of the Field Guide. Such law or policy will not only legalize the implementation of the Field Guide at all levels, but also will regulate the operational and logistic matters,” he said.

To date, the ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab programme has supported the pilot joint labour inspection in Benoa Fishing Port of Bali, Nizam Zahman Oceanic Port of Jakarta and Belawan Oceanic Fishing Port of North Sumatra as the busiest seaport outside of Java. The next support is to organize a series of meeting sessions at the provincial level to disseminate the Field Guide and support the establishment of joint inspection in the targeted provinces.