The Palm Scribe

Palm Oil Workers Mark May Day with Rejection of Draft Omnibus Law

palm oil worker impact from omnibus law
Photo: Koalisi Buruh Sawit

The Coalition of Oil Palm Workers, marked Labor Day 2020 by airing their rejection of the draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation, saying it would only put workers, especially those working at oil palm plantations, at a further disadvantage.

“The Coalition of Oil Palm Workers deems that the Omnibus Law on Job Creation will remove job certainty, wage certainty, and certainty regarding social and health protection,” the Coalition said in a press release sent to the Palm Scribe on Thursday (30/4.)

The coalition said that workers at oil palm plantation were most vulnerable to these uncertainties as they tended to work as daily hires, contractual workers or as workers without permanent works, all of whom already had not steady work status, wage nor social security coverage.

The coalition said that some 20 million people worked as labor at oil palm plantations and that more than 60 percent of them were workers with vulnerable work terms.

“Vulnerable work relations such as these would be legalized by the Omnibus Law on Job Creation,” the Coalition said.

It also said the Omnibus Law will legitimize low pays that were below the normal levels and the work contract system for oil palm workers promoted by the Omnibus Law would rob workers of their rights to social security.

Also read: Draft Omnibus Law Risks Scuttling Indonesia’s Climate Commitment: Madani.

Many workers at plantations were already not registered by the companies employing them with the state social security scheme.

“The Coalition of Oil Palm Workers sees that should the Omnibus Law on Job Creation be applied, it would legitimize work practices that are similar to forced labor, in oil palm plantations,” it said adding that the worker would not have certainty in their work status, will not receive wages based on their performance, will have harder works to do and also harder daily targets to reach.

“Manpower policies that do not favor oil palm plantation workers would only position them into conditions of increasing helplessness,” it said.

Oil palm plantation workers were also facing the impacts of the Corona virus pandemic, as the country’s exports of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) experienced significant cuts. These workers, the Coalition said, have to work as usual without adequate facilities from the company to minimize their exposure to the virus.

“The manpower is vulnerable to infections. The attention accorded by the government to oil palm plantation workers is really minimal. Oil Palm workers are currently facing the threat of job dismissals and virus infection. In this regard, the government should set down policies that protect oil palm plantation workers from the risks of job dismissals and Covid19 infection,” the Coalition said.

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