ITUC OnLine – June 27, 2007

Brussels, 27 June 2007:  A new ITUC report on the respect for core labour standards in Indonesia was released today. The report shows that there remain serious violations of all core labour standards in the country. The report is being released today to coincide with Indonesia’s trade policy review at the WTO on 27 and 29 June.

Trade union rights remain restricted both in law and in practice, and anti-union discrimination is widespread. Trade union organizers are frequently intimidated, as legal procedures to address such discrimination often take many years and bribery and corruption of judges is rife. Furthermore, the right to strike remains restricted by undue legal procedures, and private sector strikes are often characterized by police intervention and violence. Strikes in the public sector are also gravely restricted.

Discrimination in employment and remuneration is common in Indonesia. Women earn on average 74% of the average wage of men and are over-represented in unpaid and low paid jobs, in particular in informal work, which has increased since the financial crisis of the late 1990s. Women are underrepresented in civil service jobs and only 17% hold a managerial position.

Child labour is widespread in Indonesia, including the worst forms of child labour. Although children below the age of 18 are not allowed to be employed in hazardous work and children between 15 and 18 are not allowed to work more than 4 hours a day, numerous violations of that law take place. Especially in rural areas many children work on plantations and in agriculture, and many others are employed in home industries, domestic work and fisheries. The worst forms of child labour include domestic work, drug trafficking, footwear production, deep sea fishing, garbage collecting, mining and quarrying, offshore fishing, sexual exploitation and trafficking. At the same time the charges for schooling are significant and the level of labour inspection is poor.

Although forced labour is prohibited by law, there are various forms of forced labour in Indonesia. As the report notes, many migrant workers are employed and recruited by agencies in exploitative and forced circumstances. Workers are charged high fees, mistreated and forced to work long hours. They have difficulties in getting redress. Some agencies require migrant workers to live in “training camps” for up to 14 months, where they may be forced to work for the agency. Women and children are also vulnerable to trafficking for forced prostitution, and forced child labour occurs on fishing platforms and garbage dumps.

Click here to see the full report.