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Strengthening social protection in Indonesia

7 May, 2020The chairperson of IndustriALL Global Union Indonesia Council, Iwan Kusmawan, is strongly urging the Indonesian government to strengthen the social protection system to cushion the impact of Covid-19 on workers and their families.

In mid-April, the Indonesian Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs revealed that 2.8 million workers had lost their jobs due to temporary closure of businesses amid the Covid-19 outbreak, 1.4 million workers applied for the pre-employment card scheme to receive training and monetary subsidies.

The staggering increase in unemployment is posing a big challenge to Indonesia's social protection system in Indonesia. Accorfing to ILO’s World Social Protection Report 2017-2019, the percentage of the country’s social protection expenditure (excluding health) per GDP has been gradually decreasing since 2000.
Kusmawan recommends the government to provide monthly cash aids for workers, instead of getting workers to attend trainings under the pre-employment card scheme. He says that the most critical needs now are food, clothes, and shelters:

“The government must strictly monitor layoffs and terminations, employers are morally obliged to give all termination benefits stated in labour laws. Brands in the textile, garment, shoe and leather sector should also set up a corporate social responsibility fund to help workers.”

The President of Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KPSI) and the Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers' Union (FSPMI) Said Iqbal, is urging the Workers’ Social Security Agency (BPJS) to set up a special fund from the deposit interest of workers’ fund to buy face masks and hand sanitizers.

"The personal protective equipment should be distributed to all Indonesian workers for free."

Iqbal also called on the government and employers to stop dismissals to protect the well-being of workers. He suggested employers to halt production and provide 100 per cent paid leave to workers as a mean to reduce operational cost.

"We support the call for 100 per cent paid leave for Indonesian workers. South East Asian governments must take steps to strengthen social protection systems during this unprecedented period,"

says IndustriALL regional secretary Annie Adviento.