Unions Report Labor Violations in ADB-backed Project

    An Indonesian road renovation project funded by the Asian Development Bank is reportedly violating labor regulations.

    Labor unions under the umbrella organization Asian Labor Network in International Financing Institutions said they found in a survey that more than 1,000 workers employed under the project have been without decent protection nor remuneration, the Jakarta Post says.

    “Almost all the workers say they have been working without safety equipment and have not been insured under the national social security program [Jamsostek]. They have neither collective agreements nor a forum to fight for the improvement of poor labor conditions,”  Lukman Hakim, ALNI secretary and survey team leader said as quoted by the newspaper.

    ADB provided 70 percent of the USD12.3 million budget for the 80-kilometer road renovation project in the province of West Kalimantan. The construction is implemented by China Engineering Consultants and the state-owned PT Waskita Karya.

    Lukman said that aside from lack of insurance and protection, workers are also exposed to and living under poor conditions without sanitation facilities and electricity.

    Bob Finlayson, officer-in-charge of ADB’s office in Jakarta, said he is unaware of the poor labor conditions but promised to investigate the findings of the survey.

    “This is the first time that the issue has been brought to our attention. We are deeply concerned with the information regarding the condition of workers as reported by ALNI. We take the issue seriously and we will immediately follow up with the government agencies responsible for implementing the project to investigate the case,” he said according to the Jakarta Post.

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    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.