FILM: Promoting Child Friendly Villages and Improving Workers Lives in Palm Oil

Publicatiedatum: 05/11/2019

Workers have to meet high daily targets to earn a minimum wage, which is often not enough for the cost of daily living. They find themselves forced to bring their families to work, including sometimes young children to help them meet the targets. PKPA (' Pusat Kajian dan Perlindungan Anak ' ) is setting up the Child Friendly Villages project and engages with palm oil companies, local communities and trade unions to discuss the difficulties in the villages, for example child labour, low income and lack of opportunities in education.

We're following Misran on his way to Amal Tani, to have one of the initial meetings with community leaders, workers and plantation management. The Civic Engagement Alliance enable voices to be heard, especially those of groups that are often excluded. Partners of ICCO and CNV Internationaal are joining hands with local organization PKPA and trade union Hukatan.

The alliance promotes the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights (UNGPs). These principles state a clear responsibility of the private sector to respect human rights. On paper, a clear statement, but what does it mean, and how to start into practice? The key issue to address is the vulnerable position of workers towards the companies. Most palm oil workers live on the plantations with their families. This makes them very dependent. Many palm oil harvesters never receive employment contracts, even when they have been permanent workers for many years. Union busting is another frequent problem, denying worker’s right to organize and negotiate collectively. Unequal treatment of female workers is general. As a consequence these day labourers have no health insurance or pension.

Civic Engagement Alliance member CNV Internationaal partners up with Hukatan, an Indonesian trade union, focused on the palm oil sector to address these issues. We follow trade union leader Nursanna during her work as a trade union leader for worker on Sumatra’s many palm oil plantations.

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