Raison de ‘Etre
Indonesia has already enacted labor protection laws through Law No. 1/1970 regarding Keselamatan dan Kesehatan Kerja (K3) and related regulations, but many companies are not fully compliant. Again, this may underestimate the actual violations as inspectors cannot see all worksites. Lion Indonesia was born out of necessity. When it started, there were no mechanisms to inform workers and their unions about workplace hazards.
This was revealed at a workshop conducted in 2009 by the Sedan Labor Information Institute (Lembaga Informasi Perburuhan Sedane/LIPS) and the Asian Monitoring Resource Center (AMRC). They invited union representatives, workers and victims to share their experiences at workshops held in several cities.
The stories they told were terrible. They heard stories of factory workers working in hot, dusty, unventilated areas without respirators or other protective equipment. Manufacturing workers report using solvents, asbestos, and mercury without even knowing these substances are dangerous. One worker reported becoming ill from chemical exposure but was unable to receive treatment. Finally, the garment worker who sustained a permanent injury to her hand was unable to receive her medical care or compensation because her employer did not enrol her in the BPJS social security program.
Too many workers did not realise that workplace conditions contributed to illness and injury. Workshop organisers recognised the need for new organisations to support workers and unions in their pursuit of OSH rights. After the workshop, representatives of the National Trade Union (SPN), Asia Monitoring Resource Center (AMRC), Bandung Legal Aid Foundation and Sedan Labor Information Institute (LIPS) met several times to assist workers and workers Agreed to form an organisation. Lion Indonesia support trade unions by providing workplace health and safety information, training and advocacy.
Representatives of the above organisations became founding members, Lion Indonesia was registered with the government as a Non-Profit Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) on March 12, 2010.
Local Initiative for OSH Network
Local Initiative for OSH Network (Lion Indonesia) is a non-profit organisation focused on increasing workplace health and safety awareness, located in Bandung, West Java.
LION’s vision is that all Indonesians can work without fear of injury or illness from their jobs because workplace health and safety hazards are understood and recognised by all.
The mission of LION is to identify unsafe working conditions and increase awareness of workers, unions, the public, and the government about occupational health and safety issues in Indonesia.
The following methods are used to publicise LION’s work and OSH issues:
- Information tables and signage at public events, such as car free days, are used to publicise OSH issues. Volunteers and staff pass out brochures, stickers, etc to the public to educate them about hazardous materials, such as asbestos.
- The LION website publicises our activities and is used to publish victims’ stories that increase the public’s awareness of OSH issues.
- Book, pamphlet, posters, and other printed materials.
Currently LION is funded by private donations and from personal donations from Board Members. Annual operating budget is attached at end of organisational plan.
Letter from LION’s Director
I was inspired to found LION after hearing workplace accident victims’ stories and realising there was no one to support them and fight for their rights. I spoke with a woman who lost all five fingers when they were cut off by a factory machine. Instead of compensating her for her lost ability to work and live a normal life, she was fired and received no money. She was not represented by a union or the government; there was no one to fight for her rights. When she returned to her village, she was ostracized due to her disfigurement and inability to work. In 2008, I went to a conference in Philippines and was surprised to learn that thousands of Indonesians workers die and tens of thousands are injured or sickened each year at work. I had no idea these numbers were so high. I thought if conditions are so bad in Indonesia, I must involve my own people and advocate for my own people. We have to try.
I worked with other labor advocates to form LION and became its first director in 2010. Since that time, we have made progress in building safety awareness in Indonesia, particularly in West Java. We developed train-the-trainer curriculum that teaches workers to recognize safety hazards, to understand chemical hazards, and to know safety is a right to be included in bargaining agreements.We have investigated asbestos exposures at asbestos processing factories and silica exposures in mines. We have advocated for accident victims at garment factories. We were integral to the formation of the Indonesia Asia Ban Asbestos Network (INA-ABAN) in 2010.
We have so much more work to do. I hope some day that LION can make all people in Indonesia aware of workplace hazards. One of my obsessions is to see the first court case where an employee injury or death is shown to be caused by workplace conditions and the victim or their families get compensated for the loss. Then I want the government and people of Indonesia to acknowledge that workplaces can kill or hurt workers and take action to truly enforce OSH regulations. My dream is that LION can be a resource for worker and unions regarding OSH rights and issues, but at the same time act as a bridge to all stakeholders (government, companies, unions, and workers) to achieve the ultimate goal of workplace safety for all in Indonesia.