ILO and trade unions strengthen collaboration with Central Java on labour rights for fishers

The ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab and Trade Union’s in the Fishing Sector conducted a series of activities to strengthen collaboration with Central Java’s relevant stakeholders in fishing sector

News | Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia | 06 March 2024
Central Java is known to be among the largest province of origin of Indonesian fishers for both Indonesian and foreign-flagged fishing vessels. With more than 150 thousand fishers and 27488 units of fishing vessels, its total production of capture fish reaches 318 million tonnes with a value of more than IDR 4.2 billion according to the 2022 data from the Provincial Marine Affairs and Fisheries Office of Central Java.

An interactive discussion between the trade unionists and students as well as lecturers of the Faculty of Economics and Business, Diponegoro University (FEB Undip) on decent work for migrant fishers. © FEB Undip
Recognizing the strategic role of the Central Java Province in promoting decent work and the elimination of forced labour in the fishing industry, the ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab in collaboration with the Trade Unions’ Network in the Fishing Sector conducted a series of activities to strengthen collaboration with relevant stakeholders in Central Java, including the local government, workers’ and employers’ associations and academia.

Established in November 2022 with support from the ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab and the Bureau of Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV), the Network is comprised of six trade union confederations, to foster a common voice for trade unions and to reinforce bilateral and tripartite social dialogue in the fishing sector.

We are now in the process of developing relevant curriculum and we welcome the involvement of the Trade Union Network to boost the inclusion of key labour issues that affect responsible business conduct in business education."

Professor Faisal, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business, Diponegoro University (FEB Undip)
Held on 29 February at the Faculty of Economics and Business, Diponegoro University (FEB Undip), Semarang, Toni Pangaribuan, Chair of Trade Unions’ Network in the Fishing Sector, and his union members promoted their efforts in protecting the migrant fishing crews from exploitation and forced labour in front of 300 participants, consisting of students and lecturers of FEB Undip.

“I previously worked at sea for 18 years. The Network has been able to negotiate with the Government of China that Indonesian fishers who died at sea should be returned home and not thrown at sea. To date, we have brought back 17 fishers to their families,” he said.

Meanwhile, Juwarih, a member of the Network from Indonesian Migrant Worker’s Union (SBMI), highlighted the Network’s advocacy on the establishment of the Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) for Fishers in Pemalang, Central Java as part of the implementation of Law No. 18/2017 on the protection of Indonesian migrant workers, including migrant fishers.

The Dean of FEB Undip, Professor Faisal, welcomed the collaboration with the Network in the field of business education and human rights. “We are now in the process of developing relevant curriculum and we welcome the involvement of the Trade Union Network to boost the inclusion of key labour issues that affect responsible business conduct in business education.”

The courtesy meeting with the Head of Provincial Manpower Office of Central Java. © ILO/Gita Lingga
A courtesy meeting was also conducted with the Head of Provincial Manpower Office of Central Java, Ahmad Aziz. “With a stronger involvement of trade unions through the Network, we can promote the implementation of occupational safety and health culture and labour standards in the fishing sector as the Central Java Province has already established a Joint Inspection Team for Labour Standards onboard Fishing Vessels,” he stated.

With a stronger involvement of trade unions through the Network, we can promote the implementation of occupational safety and health culture and labour standards in the fishing sector as the Central Java Province has already established a Joint Inspection Team for Labour Standards onboard Fishing Vessels."

Ahmad Aziz, Head of Provincial Manpower Office of Central Java
These series of activities concluded with the Tripartite Consultative Meeting on 30 February. Around 70 representatives from relevant government institutions, local authorities at district and village levels, manning agencies, fishing industry representatives, workers’ organizations and academia attended the meeting to share lessons learnt and ways forward in increasing compliance on the recruitment and placement governance of prospective migrant fishers.

Secretary General of the Trade Union Network, Sulistri, introduced the Network’s working plan and programmes. She also promoted the importance of collaboration among relevant stakeholders to ensure the labour rights of migrant fishers. While Hengky Wijaya, Chair of Indonesian Maritime Crewing Agent Association (IMCAA), shared the good practice on recruitment, placement and dispute settlement applied by its 11 members of manning agencies using digital tools.

Erry D. Nurhidayah, Head of Labour Dispute and Industrial Relations Office, explained the innovative application providing information and services for all workers and their families, including migrant workers, that are accessible at both district and village levels: SIMPELIN SAJA (in English: Make it Simple). “Through this simple, accessible application, workers can submit their complaints online and the verification as well as mediation will also be done fast offline or online,” Erry stated.

“The ILO continues to support the revitalization of Trade Unions’ Network in the Fishing Sector by actively developing networks not only with relevant labour actors but also academia in Central Java to promote knowledge-sharing among trade unions, manning agencies and villages as well as the establishment of Tripartite Forum in Central Java,” remarked Muhamad Nour, National Coordinator for ILO’s 8.7 Accelerator Lab programme in Indonesia.

Erry D. Nurhidayah, Head of Labour Dispute and Industrial Relations Office is explaining about the interactive application 'SIMPELIN SAJA' to the participants of the Tripartite Consultative Meeting. © ILO/Gita Lingga