Need to Improve the Female Work System in Palm Oil Plantations

Need to Improve the Female Work System in Palm Oil Plantations

InfoSAWIT, BOGOR – The successful story about Indonesia as the biggest palm oil producer in the world by the selling is not the same with the labor story.

There are many exploitations to the labors in many palm oil plantations in Indonesia. They are in many forms, such as, no certainty to work, small compensation, heavy work, discrimination to the female workers, children labors both directly and by the family, no available social insurance, limitation to have organizations, and minimal facility to the clean water.

Executive Director of Sawit Watch, Inda Fatinaware said that the main victim of the exploitation system in the palm oil plantation is the female. “It is assumed that the female workers in the plantation do not exist though the production process is really influenced by the female. They could do 15 of 16 kinds of work in the plantations, including the harvesting. But they do not get the  salary. They are not seen as the labors that could not get their rights,” she said in the official statement to InfoSAWIT recently.

She also mentioned that the female labors in the palm oil plantations in Indonesia are the ‘precariat’. They work without having their rights as labors, no certainty, no documentation about work contract, cheap salary, and no available health insurance. “The female labors work as the daily workers for 8 days per month, they have no rights to free. If they get free day, they would not get their salary. It is clear that the condition breaks their rights as labor to have the same rights,” she said.

Though the government of Indonesia ratified CEDAW (Convention of  All Forms of Discrimination Against Women)  in the Laws No.7 / 1984 but until now they have discrimination still. They do not get their rights, Inda said.

The Labor Specialist in Plantation, Sawit Watch, Zidane also said that this situation runs for a very long period that the government or the company may do not improve still. “Sawit Watch investigation revealed that many big palm oil plantations in Indonesia advantaged the labors within ‘precariat’ status and susceptible to the nursery (work),” he said.

The data from Sawit Watch showed that in South Sumatera, for instance, there are more than 1.200 daily labors (mostly female) in the palm oil plantations. The companies hire them through the sub-contractor.

The workers (labors) in th company have minimum work, only 8 days in every month in average within about Rp 117.000/day of salary. The same thing is also found in North Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, and Central Kalimantan.

Considering this, it could be said that the government and the companies may have no commitment to protect the labors namely the female ones in the palm oil plantations.

“The government, for instance, never discussed how to protect the labor. On the other hand, the corporates commitment to run the fair work practice is on paper only but the reality is contradictory,” Zidane said. (T2)


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