ILO calls for decent work for homeworkers in Indonesia

Homeworkers in Indonesia face low pay and long working hours, as they are employed in informal work arrangements, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has said.

Labor laws and national statistics, which do not include specific provision on home work, and limited access of homeworkers to social and legal protection have aggravated the situation, it further says.

"Despite their important roles in a global supply chain, homeworkers are still not recognised as workers in Indonesia," ILO in Indonesia deputy director Michiko Miyamoto said on Tuesday.

To promote decent work for homeworkers in Indonesia, the ILO is set to hold a national seminar titled "Promoting Decent Work for Homeworkers" in Jakarta from Dec.16 to 17.

The seminar is aimed at increasing understanding on issues faced by homeworkers through a presentation of research findings and sharing of experiences. The seminar will also act as a forum to advocate for the development of policies, programs and practices to promote decent work for homeworkers in Indonesia.

"Through this national seminar, it is hoped that there will be better understanding and recognition for homeworkers as workers as part of the promotion of decent work for all homeworkers in Indonesia," said Miyamoto.

The ILO says that although they have long existed in Indonesia, subcontracted homeworkers have been largely invisible because work is carried out at home mostly by women who also take care of household and family care responsibilities, and remunerative work is often considered as a side activity carried out by women rather than real work.

In the seminar, the ILO will present key findings of research it conducted together with IKEA.

"The research examined employment relationships and working conditions of homeworkers in an IKEA rattan supply chain," the UN body says. It further explains good practices, lessons and strategies on organising homeworkers based on experiences from Chile, India, the Philippines and Thailand over the last 30 to 40 years will be presented in the seminar.

Lessons from several provinces including North Sumatra, Central Java, Yogyakarta and East Java will be presented based on the previous ILO's works in empowering homeworkers and improving their working conditions.

The ILO is conducting the two-day seminar through its Access to Employment and Decent Work for Women (MAMPU) Project in co-operation with the Manpower Ministry. For the Project, the ILO has worked with the Manpower Ministry, the Indonesian Employers' Association (Apind0), national trade union confederations and selected civil society organisations since 2014.

The Project is part of the Empowering Indonesian Women for Poverty Reduction Programme (MAMPU), funded by the Government of Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and implemented in co-operation with the National Development Planning Ministry.