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Everyone needs social protection

18 June, 2023Social protection is something that everyone should have and includes sick pay, unemployment benefits and injury insurance. Maternity and paternity leave, funds for retraining and properly funded pensions also fall under social protection. The Covid pandemic showed the need for stronger social protection systems. Unions play a huge role in fighting for these rights for workers. 

In February, Indonesia’s Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mining, Oil and Gas Workers’ Union (FSP KEP) received facilities for mothers, after a 5-year long negotiation with PT Garudafood Putra Putri Jaya Tbk (Garudafood). 700 women workers can now enjoy new facilities like a lactation room, breast feeding facility, childcare centre, and special allowance. 

These workers were organized by FSP KEP under their general industry sector. IndustriALL and Union-to-Union provided them with union building training, which allowed them to include the lactation room in the latest collective agreement.

Bangladesh's ministry of labour and employment launched a pilot for an employment injury scheme in collaboration with the International Labour Organization in June last year. The scheme covers the country’s four million ready-made garment (RMG) workers. The employment injury scheme (EIS) is a social protection scheme includes compensation for medical treatment and rehabilitation services, as well as income loss caused by occupational injuries and disease. 

This project aims to top up the lump sums already paid in Bangladesh for death and permanent disability due to work injury, and to ensure that work-related compensations are line with international labour standards.

In September 2022, IndustriALL affiliates in Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia, Egypt, and Palestine launched a campaign to fight for social protection and for better health and safety standards in the region’s textile, garment and shoe factories. Textile unions in MENA joined the global call by taking up the Garment workers need safe factories campaign. 

Kan Matsuzaki, IndustriALL assistant general secretary says: 

“social protection is mandatory, but many workers are deprived of it because companies evade it, and the law is often not correctly applied. Many workers find themselves without a pension when retiring and women are deprived of their maternity rights. We need to work together to make sure that all workers have access to social protection.”