Mobilization and Capacity Building of Teachers’ Trade Union and Wider Trade Unions in Combating Child Labour in Indonesia

To mobilize and train Teachers' Trade Union (PGRI) officials, its members and other trade unionist to take actions to eliminate and prevent child labour.

Child labour in Indonesia

Indonesia has the fourth largest population in the world, with almost 30 per cent of the population below the age of 15. The Department of Social Affairs in Indonesia has estimated there are almost 47,000 street children in major urban centers who generally have no access to education. Again, many have migrated from rural areas with weak educational infrastructures. A rapid assessment commissioned by ILO-IPEC (International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour) in 2002 estimated that there were more than 21,000 children under 18 in prostitution in Java. Many of these children are trafficked to major urban centres from rural areas where they have poor access to quality education. There is a high degree of vulnerability among older children and a recent ILO study estimated that over 70 per cent of children in the 15-17 age range in Indonesia are unemployed. Many out-of-school and unemployed youth migrate from rural to urban areas and, lacking basic education and skills, find themselves drawn into unconditional worst forms of child labour. The causes and consequences of child labour in Indonesia are similar to those found elsewhere, relating primarily to poverty, lack of access to good quality education, gender inequalities, cultural, traditional and family values and lack of awareness and enforcement of relevant legislation.

Role of trade unions and teacher’s trade unions

Working with trade unions has been a significant area of IPEC’s work since the outset of the programme in the early 1990s and within the broader context of the ILO as a whole. Indeed, the comparative advantage of child labour elimination and prevention activities within the ILO is built upon the concept of tripartism and remains a strong focus of ILO-IPEC’s strategic approach which has been strengthened through, among others, close collaboration with RENGO.

As mass membership democratic organizations, trade unions bring much strength to efforts to eliminate child labour. Collective bargaining, as part of social dialogue, is an important union strategy and, as campaigning organizations, trade unions can also disseminate messages on a national, regional and international scale and take direct action to influence labour law and practices. Trade unions are also well placed to act as watchdogs and to take direct action to prevent child labour and remove children from the workplace and help provide the alternatives of quality education and preparation for the adult world of work.

Teachers’ unions in particular hold one of the most important roles in the prevention of child labour. They have direct contact with children that allow them to positively influence the children’s education and guide them into their future. Therefore, teachers, educators and their organizations constitute a frontline group in the international effort to eliminate child labour. Teachers can contribute to the prevention of child labour both by taking action in schools and by reaching out to the community.

Project objectives

The project is aimed to contribute to the elimination of the worst forms of child labour in Indonesia and to prevent children from entering such forms of child labour in the future by focusing on the involvement of trade unions, particularly teachers’ trade union (PGRI), in the implementation of the action programme in Indonesia. Specifically, through the training workshops designed to reinforce the capacities of national stakeholders to strengthen sustainability.

Project strategy

To achieve the objectives, ILO will implement strategies as follows:

Reinforce the involvement of trade unions in child labour elimination and prevention

As noted in ILO’s global report, the social partners, particularly trade unions, have a crucial role to play in sustaining national, regional and global activities to tackle child labour. In order to reinforce the involvement of trade unions in child labour elimination and prevention and to build on their experiences and expertise in this area, IPEC has also developed a Trade Union Manual on Child Labour which will underpin ongoing efforts to disseminate knowledge and understanding and build capacities.

Mobilization of teachers and their organizations

The establishment of the Global Task Force on Child Labour and Education for All in November 2006 highlights the critical importance of education as an intervention to tackle child labour and ensure children go to and remain in school. Teachers and their organizations act as powerful agents of social change in communities to ensure that children go to school and stay there.

IPEC has always worked very closely with teachers, educators and their organizations in its field programmes and advocacy and campaigning activities. In this respect, the popular IPEC Information Kit for Teachers, Educators and their Organizations was revised at the end of 2004 and plays a vital role in capacity-building and awareness-raising on child labour and education. In addition, the SCREAM Education Pack was endorsed by EI and its member organizations and has been one of the most successful IPEC resource materials in terms of its level of implementation across the globe.

The combined impact of the Teachers’ Kit, SCREAM and other elements of IPEC’s Education Resource Programme being implemented in collaboration with teachers and their organizations can make a significant contribution to supporting the TBP and other IPEC projects and programmes in Indonesia.

Key partners

  • Teachers’ Trade Union (PGRI)
  • Other trade Unions