When opening the meeting, Brother Sjaiful, the convenor of the Indonesian Council, explained that according to the IndustriAll guidelines, a national committee was created, in which all 11 affiliates were asked to nominate one representative. It will be chaired by Lilis Mahmudah from SPN. The committee was accompanied by the two IndustriAll ExCo members, Wati Anwar and Nikasi Grinting.
Precarious work continues to be the main challenge to unions in Indonesia. One of the most crucial issues with that is maternity protection, because as a rule precarious workers have no maternity protection, maternity leave or maternity pay. Women cannot get married and keep their job if they are contract workers, and if they get pregnant, their contract is cancelled.
The committee tabled its aims:
- to bring women into the structure
- to encourage women leadership
- to make activities for women leaders
- to create an advocacy institution to solve women's problems.
The committee intends to arrange monthly or bi-monthly meetings. To start with they are keen to make an impact on 7 October, the International Day of Decent Work. Nevertheless they want to prepare interventions according to the trade union calendar - 25 November International Day to Combat Violence against Women, 1 December World Aids Day, 10 December Human Rights Day, 8 March International Women's Day and so forth.
The committee meeting was preceded by women only basic training in the project funded by FNV and LO/TCO. At the training the women understood why it is important to join a union, and they learned about the basic concepts of health and safety and collective bargaining. The tools they got were body mapping and reading the balance sheet. HIV/AIDS was another issue that they explored.
After the meeting at a visit to Indonesian affiliates FSPMI and KEP precarious work was revealed to indeed be the main challenge. Nevertheless the women insisted that their concerns such as maternity protection, violence on the job and equal treatment in terms of insurance and taxation need to be attended to.