Fair Wear urges brands to heed labour right risks given Indonesia’s new omnibus law

Last month, the Indonesian parliament adopted its controversial ‘Omnibus Bill’.  The new law replaces 83 separate laws and aims to attract foreign investment and foster job creation. However, it also contains several labour-related stipulations, such as on working hours, that are no longer in line with the ILO Conventions. As Fair Wear, we will continue to uphold the highest norms and we expect our member brands to follow suit.

Prior to the vote, Fair Wear members Odlo, Zeeman, Haglofs, Schöffel and DW-Shop joined the industry alliance initiative in a letter to the Indonesian government expressing their deep concern over the fact that trade unions were not well consulted in the design of the labour section, as well as how this will affect the deterioration of workers’ rights. International investors also voiced their concerns in a separate letter

The government moved up the voting on the bill to 5 October to prevent strikes of protest from taking place. As a result, local trade unions and labour rights organisations, as well as multinational business and international human rights organisations and trade unions, lacked sufficient space to voice their concerns in the process.

The good news is that the version of the bill that was adopted was significantly watered down and many proposed revisions to the labour law were removed. An overview of the changes can be found here. The government will clarify certain stipulations in the coming months, such as those concerning fixed-term contracts. As Fair Wear, we will continue to uphold the highest standards in our audits and activities, and we are developing guidelines to help brands move forward in addressing labour conditions in light of this new law. We will plan a seminar for brands and suppliers at the beginning of the new year to inform them more specifically about the relevant changes.