Palm oil company PT Tandan Sawita Papua alleged of ignoring labour rights – Workers report to Komnas HAM

Labour representatives employed by the Indonesian palm oil company PT Tandan Sawita Papua (PT TSP) have filed a complaint (see photo, source: Jubi) regarding unfair labour conditions to the Papuan Representative Office of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM Papua). The company is alleged of having employed workers as day labourers without a working contract over a period of up to twelve years. Most of them are indigenous Papuans. Repeated demands to provide contracts for these workers have not been responded to by the company. The workers have repeatedly shared their situation with the Keerom Labour Department since 2015. As of today, the government agency has failed to raise the issue with the company.

About 1,000 workers at the PT TSP plantation continue to work without having access to health insurance and social security. According to labour representatives, their salaries depend on targets set by the company. These workers have no right to paid leave and only receive payment for the days they are present at work. The workers lack any protection in case of sickness or work accidents. “Some of the workers were only asked for their identity cards and family cards when they applied for the work. The company employed them as day labourers, the majority of whom are native Papuans. They do not have any clear employment status”, explained Frits Ramdey, the Komnas HAM Papua chairperson.

PT TSP has been accused of fraudulent engagement with local indigenous communities in Arso since 2014. The allegations reach from broken promises to improve the infrastructure, including health and education facilities for local communities, to pollution of clean water resources. The PT TSP plantation is located in the Arso District of Keerom Regency, Papua Province, where the company has been operating since 2008 with an area of around 18,000 hectares under cultivation.

Corporate Social Responsibility towards local indigenous communities and their workers remains no more than a slogan for the company. PT TSP joined the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) on 6 April 2011. The UNGC is the world`s largest sustainability initiative encouraging companies to align business strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour rights and environmental conservation.