Categorization and Labor Regulations in Indonesian Palm Oil Plantations

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Categorization and Labor Regulations in Indonesian Palm Oil Plantations. Photo by: Sawit Fest 2021 / Herwin Gunadi

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA – Palm oil plantations in Indonesia are generally categorized into three groups: large private plantations, government-owned plantations, and people’s plantations.

National laws, specifically Law No. 13/2003 concerning labor, govern the management of workers in both large private and government-owned plantations. Compliance with these regulations is crucial for stakeholders in these sectors.

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Large private plantations strictly adhere to regulations regarding the employment of female workers, with their labor systems monitored by local governments nationwide. However, the situation differs for people’s plantations, which are typically organized under the Serikat Petani Kelapa Sawit (SPKS).

Also Read: Regulatory Improvements Needed for the Palm Oil Industry in Indonesia

Independent smallholders within SPKS are further classified into four groups based on plantation size: those with 1 to 4 hectares, 5 to 10 hectares, 11 to 19 hectares, and 20 to 24 hectares.

Some may exceed 25 hectares but are not classified as smallholders under regulations, instead categorized as small to medium-sized stakeholders. These groups rely on hired labor for cultivating their land.

Chairman in Labor, Indonesian Palm Oil Association (IPOA), Sumarjono Saragih told that it is important to monitor and supervise the labor system on the groups which cultivate the plantation. It is about to know the labor protection and who they hire. “It always happened that palm oil industries burden the responsibility,” he said.

It is better, he continued, there should be the same solution and firm law enforcement. The big private plantation companies have the instrument both in the law enforcement and in hiring the female. It needs to know if the female workers are exploited or not.

It needs to understand that the female would work if they need only. If the option is to make them as the officers, it needs to obey the regulations.

The female would work if they are needed. There is no regulation about this too. “They would work in each season. Do they fulfill the condition? The main key is the function of supervision,” he said.

Sumarjono also told that there was term, Family Gank. It had no issue but now, if they take their children to pick up the seeds, it breaks the regulation. (P2)

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