Indonesia: Historic Pact Today Strengthens Sportswear Workers’ Union Rights

Today a historic agreement has been signed regarding trade union rights in factories in Indonesia. The pact was signed by Indonesian textile, clothing and footwear unions, major supplier factories and the major sportswear brands, including Adidas, Nike and Puma. A keynote speech was delivered by Mr. Muji Handoyo, general director of Labour Inspection, who expressed his appreciation of the efforts of the parties to ensure that freedom of association is respected.

Workers in Indonesia and in other countries producing sportswear are frequently prevented from organising at sportswear supplier factories and from carrying out union activities. Recent research covering 18 factories in Indonesia found that all had taken anti-union measures.

“This protocol is important because our law does not cover technical implementation of freedom of association. It also ensures brands take responsibility to ensure respect for union rights,” states Lilis Mahmudah, head of program for SPN. “Our members have been waiting for this agreement to be concluded. It will help us in our bargaining efforts,” adds Emelia Yanti, general secretary of GSBI.

SPN and GSBI are two of the Indonesian trade unions who negotiated and signed the protocol. The other unions involved were Garteks, KASBI and F.PTSPK.

Today’s agreement has been made possible by the Play Fair campaign, which since 2004 has been campaigning for global sportswear brands to take concrete steps to improve conditions in their supply chains. The campaign was represented at the signing by Oxfam Australia, the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation and the Clean Clothes Campaign.

“The signing of this freedom of association protocol is an important first step in improving the situation for the hundreds of thousands of sportswear workers facing low wages and poor conditions,” says Jeroen Merk of the CCC. “The real test, however, will be in its implementation,” adds Ashling Seely of the ITGLWF.

In the run up to the London 2012 Olympics, the Play Fair Campaign will be encouraging other sportswear and garment brands to sign up to the protocol.

Read the Protocol on Freedom of Association

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