KSBSI takes a lead role as SDG champion in Indonesia

The inclusion of the Confederation of All Indonesian Trade Unions (KSBSI) by the government in the national SDG working group on Goal 8 marks an important recognition of trade unions’ role in shaping national development policies.

KSBSI has accumulated significant experience in promoting progressive sustainable development policies for Indonesia, including producing two comprehensive reports assessing the implementation of SDGs in Indonesia. As a result of its strong track record, KSBSI has been invited to join a special governmental task force dedicated to monitoring Indonesia’s progress on Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) concerning decent work and sustainable economic growth. Established under the Indonesian National Development Plan Agency, the taskforce was initially set up for the period 2018-2022 and was renewed for another two years (2022-2024).

As the sole representative of Indonesian trade unions in the task force, KSBSI has made valuable contributions, particularly in contributing to shaping Indonesia’s two voluntary national reviews (VNR) presented at the UN High-level Political Forums held in 2019 and 2021.

“Based on our demands, the government included data on labour rights violations in the 2021 VNR. We also pushed to include data on collective bargaining agreements, but that proposal fell away,” explained KSBSI International Secretary, Rekson Silaban.

In principle, the formation of such a task force would reflect a strong commitment from social partners and the government to shape Indonesia’s labour landscape within the SDG-framework. However, the reality is not so simple, as reflected in Indonesia’s poor rating in the ITUC’s 2023 Global Rights Index. The country was found to present systemic obstacles to guaranteeing workers’ rights.

"We are confident that our participation in the SDGs task force contributes to improving the harsh labour reality of our country. We do not neglect any avenue that can potentially lead to uplifting labour rights concerns and fostering a more inclusive and progressive agenda in Indonesia," explained Silaban

Presidential elections 2024

Indonesia’s upcoming presidential elections on 14 February 2024, has meant the work of the task force has been somewhat disrupted. After a two-month pause, the task force resumed its activities on 22 November 2023 to discuss updates to the next year’s activities on the national SDG action plan.

The plan already includes activities related to social protection and climate change. However, it lacks activities in the areas of decent work, freedom of association, and gender equality. KSBSI intends to submit a series of proposals addressing these aspects, aiming for their inclusion in the final draft of the plan.

On the potential impact of the elections result on the ongoing work of the task force and Indonesia’s path towards achieving the SDGs, Silaban explains that “it doesn’t seem like there will be any major changes. Most probably, Indonesia will continue to follow the practices put in place by previous governments.”

Find more information regarding the efforts of Indonesian trade unions to support workers’ rights and their representation within the context of the 2030 Agenda on the ITUC website and its Global Rights Index. Additionally, the online media Equal Times offers comprehensive coverage, shedding light on the ever-evolving dynamics of workers’ rights in Indonesia and worldwide.