Despite COVID-19 restrictions a good training year for social dialogue in Indonesia

Despite COVID-19 restrictions a good training year for social dialogue in Indonesia

Peter Bongaerts Director View profile

It is a challenging time for Indonesia with the corona pandemic. On the socio-economic front, the implementation of new labour legislation (Omnibus Law) challenges employers and employees. It is in these circumstances that DECP and CNV International are committed to further developing the social dialogue in Indonesia.

In recent years, together with employers' organisation APINDO and trade union KSBSI, training was provided on social dialogue and negotiation skills. This was done at national and regional level, in Bandung, Surabaya, Palembang, Medan, Makassar and Balikpapan, among others. It resulted in a qualified group of Indonesian trainers, who  in turn can train new employers and trade unions in social dialogue skills.

COVID-19, lockdowns  and the restrictions to physically get together have not changed that. On the contrary. In an ambitious work plan entitled "Social  Dialogue Indonesia 2021", DECP, CNV International, Apindo and KSBSI have gone even further.

In two sectors that are very important for Indonesia – the palm oil and garment industries – social dialogue training courses have started on Kalimantan and Central Java respectively. The aim is to promote a structured and constructive social dialogue in these sectors as well. So that working on national challenges such as the implementation of the Omnibus Law and  global challenges such as the sustainability of value chains is accompanied by harmonious industrial relations.

For the Dutch trainers, Dirk Joosse of DECP and Henk van Beers of CNV International, it took some time getting used to providing the training from behind a screen. "Especially in social dialogue, where issues such as trust and commitment play a major role, physical togetherness is important. Nonverbal  communication and informal get-togethers are incredibly important," says Joosse.


Photo: DECP-trainer Dirk Joosse and CNV Internationaal trainer Henk van Beers online in action during the second social dialogue training in the palmoil sector in August 2021.

Joosse and Van Beers continued with the social dialogue training online anyway. "The interest and enthusiasm of the participants is still great and we can take considerable steps", says DECP country manager for Indonesia Peter Bongaerts. For example, after the social dialogue training in the palm oil sector, a Social  Dialogue Forum was established for the palm oil sector on East Kalimantan. In this forum, representatives of the employers' organisations GAPKI and APINDO, trade unions  Hukatan  and KSBSI and representatives of the local government will further promote social dialogue.


Photo: First social dialogue training, organised by APINDO, KSBSI, DECP and CNV Internationaal in the garment sector in Yogyakarta, September 2021.

During the social dialogue training for the clothing sector in Yogyakarta, the chairman of the employers’ organisation for the garment sector API underlined that he wanted to work on planet, people and profit in that order. He indicated that he would like to learn from the knowledge and experience from the Netherlands in the field of social dialogue and in building trustful relationships.

The social dialogue trainings in the palm oil sector took place in June and August 2021 at East Kalimantan. The first training in the garment sector was on 9 and 10 September 2021 in Yogyakarta. A second training in the textile sector is planned in autumn 2021.


Photo: Welcome speeches of Hanneke Smits (region coordinator CNV Internationaal for Asia) and Peter Bongaerts (countrymanager DECP for Indonesia) during the first social dialogue training for the palmoil sector in June 2021.