The Violation and Indifference of the Social Economic Right

Oil Palm Plantation Labors in Indonesia

(1 from 2 notes)Bahorok-Langkat-Isteri Buruh Memberondol

Social economic and politic dynamic in Indonesia back in 2015 come with big question about the role of the state in the fullfilment social economic rights of people especially the oil palm plantation labors. The state’s role is seen as having the legitimacy to meet the needs of the people questioned along with the lack of government attention and discharge policies even more debilitating oil palm plantation workers.

The area of oil palm plantation in Indonesia now already reach 14,3 million hectares with the CPO production up to 27,1 million tons/year (Sawit Watch, 2015). From the total production 80% being exported and the 20% allocated for national consumpation1. According to KADIN, the oil palm plantation in Indonesia has absorped 21 million labors not only direct labors but also indirect labors2. Sawit Watch (2015) predicted the amount of the oil palm plantation labors already reach 10,4 million people where 70% of them were labors without any work assurance (Buruh Harian Lepas, Buruh Borongan, Buruh Kontrak dan alihdaya (Outsourcing)).

Research that conduct by  Sawit Watch (2015) indicated the forced labors practice in several oil palm plantation in Indonesia. The labors encounter the mistreatment, cheap wage, high work target, fine, pressure and intimidation because conduct the labors association, the lack of equipment, and the proper protecting equipment, the lack of clean water and health, child labors and the placement of the labors in barrack with restrict supervision.

The Forced Labors System: Forced Labor Practice Similar

Oil palm plantations in Indonesia implement working system based on work hour and the entire stock of certain targets simultaneously determined unilaterally by the estate. Such a system is generally applicable to harvest labors. When a labor has worked 7 hours / day but have not reached the target employment contract that has been determined, it is not allowed to stop before the employment targets achieved. Conversely if the target has been reached but has not reached 7 hours, labors have not been allowed to stop and “forced” to work up to 7 hours of work are met.

Harvest labors not only do the harvesting job, but also do the other six jobs. Those system also giving the sanction legitimation for the labors who not achieve the target.

To make sure the target achievement, the harvest labors come along their wife and children to help they achieve their target without any compensation by the company. Working system with the intimidation to reduce the wage is a form of force labors. One of the indicator of the force labors is working under the treat and the labor rights dismissal. In other side, the involvement of the wife and children of the labors is an involuntary recruitment.

Labors without any Working Assurance

The absence of work assuracne of the work can be seen from the massive amount of casual labors, home-based workers, contract labors3, work arrangement is not clear, undocumented labors. In plantations, the use of labor without an assurance massively happen in spraying and fertilizing works, and the majority are women. Some of the estates were recorded indicated practicing this among others PT LNK Gohor langkat Old North Sumatra, PT HMSBP Central Kalimantan, PT SLM in Central Kalimantan, PT Kerry Sawit Indonesia Central Kalimantan, PT and PT MM HHM East Kalimantan, PT MM Sulawesi Barat4.

The decrease demand of CPO: Work Termination

The oil palm plantation is a first surface that impact by the decrease demand of the CPO. For example the decrease of CPO price happen in Agustus-Oktober 2015, this event cause bad impact for the oil palm plantation labors. Several companies started to cut the labors working hours, especially the harvest labors. In the form of cut the production cost, some of the oil palm plantation companies cut down the labors in spraying and fertilizing. Consequence, the labors (who usually casual labors from the people around the plantation) not being employ. On the other hand, the work load of the harvest labors now increasing as a consequence to do this new work load. The increasing of work load, not compensated with the increase of the wage. 5

If this situation keep continue, the amount of the labors being cut down will keep growing. Now, at least 10,4 million oil palm plantation labors in Indonesia. if the cut down happen in massice scale, it can be sure the number of unemployment will increasing and domino effect will show clearly: millions labors family will live in uncertainty. KADIN record, the oil palm plantation has absorp 21 million workers both the direct and indirect labors. If the decreasing price of CPO keep continue, there will be 21 millions Indonesia people will live in uncertainty.

1 Sawit Watch, 2014

3 Riset Sawit Watch di satu perkebunan sawit di kabupaten Berau, Kalimantan Timur menemukan adanya Camp (perumahan buruh) yang dihuni oleh lebih dari 100 orang buruh berstatus buruh kontrak dan borongan. Di Camp ini juga ditemukan buruh anak yang dipekerjakan sebagai asisten operator alat berat. Di perkebunan lain di kabupaten yang sama ditemukan juga buruh anak yang dipekerjakan sebagai pemanen dan penyemprot.

4 Hasil investigasi di PT Mamuang misalnya diperoleh data bahwa tidak ada lagi buruh BHL. BHL dialihkan menjadi buruh borongan tanpa perjanjian kerja yang jelas. Buruh borongan tidak diakomodir menjadi peserta BPJS. Waktu kerja buruh borongan tidak jelas, tergantung permintaan pemborong pekerjaan. Buruh borongan diharuskan menyediakan sendiri alat kerja dan alat pelindung diri.

5 Di Kabupaten Kotawaringin Timur, Kalimantan Tengah, beberapa perkebunan sawit mulai mengurangi jam kerja karyawan untuk menghindari pemutusan hubungan kerja dampak penurunan permintaan akan CPO. Di Musirawas, Sumatera Selatan, berdasarkan data yang masuk ke Disnakertrans setempat, ratusan buruh sudah di PHK. PHK terjadi di PT MLM, PT SJT, PT SGSU, PT RJ dan PT DjS. Di Penajam Paser Utara, untuk periode Januari-Oktober 2015, 300 orang buruh perkebunan sawit di PHK.



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