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Indonesia: Palm oil giants convene to address labour rights issues & to improve conditions for women workers

"Palm oil giants unite to tackle human rights challenges in Indonesia", 21 June 2019

...In a major collaborative effort to address persistent labour rights issues in Indonesia’s palm oil sector, five industry giants have jointly announced two new pilot projects that seek to change practices around casual labour and improve conditions for women workers.

The Decent Rural Living Initiative (DRLI), convened by international sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, brings together palm oil companies Cargill, Musim Mas, Sime Darby Plantation, Wilmar and Golden Agri-Resources....

...Perpetua George, general manager of group sustainability at Wilmar, said...“The solution in West Kalimantan for example, is not making these casual positions permanent but making sure the overall quality of life, for both permanent and temporary workers is better,” ...“For those who want to maintain their temporary status, how can we improve contract conditions and have a standard template of collective agreement that specifically covers the temporary worker scenario?”

The second pilot project taken up by Golden Agri, Cargill and Musim Mas, aims to improve gender equality in the palm oil industry by enhancing the role of gender committees on palm oil estates.

Said Anita Neville, senior vice president of group corporate communications and sustainability relations at Golden Agri Resources:  “We recognise the importance of the role of women in rural agriculture—especially as agents to help address the challenges agriculture faces. To help them realise their change agent potential we need to create safer, more inclusive workplaces.”

...On why it has taken longer for palm oil’s biggest players to act together on human rights...“While environmental issues such as deforestation can be more easily identified via technology, labour issues deal with people and are thus not so straightforward...” said George....