Working Group Meeting between Trade Unions and Employers on Decent Work for Palm Oil Plantations

The working group is aimed to enhance the capacity of both trade unions and employers in understanding national law and international labour standards in the employment contract.


The objectives of the series of meetings, FGD and event are:

  1. Consolidate the work plan that has been discussed by the Trade Union Networks for 2019.
  2. Develop frameworks and strategy for a national forum that are functioning as a platform for both employers and trade union networks to discuss various issues related to labour issues in promoting decent work in the palm oil plantations;
  3. Enhance the capacity of both trade unions and employers in understanding national law and international labour standards in the employment contract.


With the support of the Government of Indonesia and the social partners, the ILO undertook a diagnostic process on working conditions in the palm oil sector in 2015. Based on the results of the diagnostic process, discussed in a tripartite setting in August 2015, the constituents agreed on a national plan of action on the promotion of decent work on oil palm plantations.

The action plan is organized around six areas: (i) Employment status; (ii) Wages; (iii) Social dialogue; (iv) Occupational safety and health; (v) Child labour; and (vi) Labour Inspection. There was a consensus that these areas required particular attention to strengthen Indonesia’s economic advantage in the palm oil sector in a sustainable way and to improve working and living conditions of plantation workers and the performance of the industry.

In 2017, the ILO embarked on a project entitled “Promoting Decent Work on Oil Palm Plantations in Indonesia”, which aims to assist the tripartite constituents in the implementation of the national action plan. The first project outcome is to strengthen the capacity of ILO tripartite constituents in implementing the national action plan on decent work in the plantation.

Under this framework, The ILO Project in Palm oil Plantations, during 2018 the project has successfully managed to bring in 10 union federations under four trade union confederations through collaborations with CNV International. This trade union network is agreed to function as a centre for coordination, communication, and knowledge sharing including dialogue among the trade union federations.

A joint secretariat has been formed consisting of representatives from the ten union federations. The joint secretariat members will be playing a leading role in implementing the work plan that has been agreed in 2018 as well as facilitate meetings with the employers association to set a joint national social dialogue platform to promote decent work.

In another hand, the ILO also has been able to secure a collaboration with GAPKI as the employers association in palm oil plantations. GAPKI, through its labour department, is in the process of developing a joint task force to promote decent work and implemented the national action plan recommendation including bridging communication with the trade union networks.

Both parties, the Trade Union Network and GAPKI has agreed that for 2019 the critical priority area that is going to be addressed are employment status, and OSH while at the same time keeping attention to another area of the national action plan. Both have agreed to discuss in detail on bringing the issues of employment status and OSH through social dialogue mechanism.

To support these request and initiatives, the project will be facilitating series of preparatory meetings, and FGD to promote the process of the dialogue between the workers and employers as well as engaging government to support the sustainability of initiatives. The activities will be implemented under the following term of reference.