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Singapore – The Musim Mas Group today published the Indonesian Palm Oil industry’s first comprehensive, independent labour compliance assessment. While the labour assessment highlights areas of labour risks, the report also presents potential learnings through recommendations on how Musim Mas’ management systems and tools may be improved.

In late August 2016, Musim Mas collaborated with Verité to conduct an independent labour compliance assessment. Verité carried out the assessment in three mills and eight estates in Musim Mas’ Palm Oil holdings in Central Kalimantan and Riau.

The assessment aimed to identify risks of non-conformance to POIG’s Charter, RSPO Principles and Criteria, Verité Best Practice Standards and other international norms on worker protection and Occupational Health and Safety. They also targeted to determine the areas of innovation required.

The field assessments were conducted over nine (9) days and involved in-depth interviews with 123 non-management workers without the presence of management personnel. The auditors also carried out a documentary review and site inspections as well as interviews with unions and smallholder cooperative.

The audit and findings are categorised into three broad categories, namely, labour and human rights, compensation and hours, as well as health and safety.

Some of the good labour practices identified during the assessment included:

  • The company does not employ child labour;
  • Workers are guaranteed the legal minimum wage as their base wage, regardless of their ability to meet the quota;
  • Probationary workers are upgraded to permanent status after three (3) months as per law;
  • The company has a low precarious employment rate;
  • There are good policies on maternity (pregnancy testing is not discriminatory, work accommodation during pregnancy, respect for women’s legal right to maternal leave, and clear breastfeeding policy); and
  • There is no indication that workers’ identity documents are retained.

The key areas for improvement identified during the assessment included:

  • Addressing the number of overtime hours;
  • Protecting workers who are not on the official payroll;
  • Improving housing policy with regards to gender; and
  • Ensuring sufficient water supply.

In the one-year period since the assessment leading up to the publication of the report today, the Group has reviewed the gaps in the highlighted areas and worked to address highlighted issues, enabling case closure in most aspects. Musim Mas is still working on other matters requiring lengthier consideration and implementation processes to straddle business realities with labour rights considerations.

Corrective actions undertaken following the assessment, of which are detailed in the assessment report include:

  • Capping of normal period overtime hours at 14 hours a week and (3) hours a day; ensuring all overtime is voluntary and paid in accordance with legal standards;  reviewing of rotation system to address work life balance; and limiting the number of off days that workers may choose not to take;
  • Formalising of kernet workers (usually workers’ spouses) through developing part-time employment contract and insurance. Upon compliance with the employment terms, kernet workers are recruited as permanent workers;
  • Providing of unrestricted menstrual leave to female workers in accordance with applicable laws; recognising of female workers as head of family for housing entitlement as verified in the family card; and
  • Studying of water consumption pattern in the household to derive a new water distribution system to ensure equitable supply of free clean water to all households.

As the first major Southeast Asian oil palm producer to join the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) in November 2015, the assessment is the Group’s first step towards compliance with the POIG Charter. Musim Mas is currently finalising the full independent verification of its operations against the POIG Charter.

To view the report, please click here.

For more information, please contact:

Carolyn Lim
Corporate Communications
+65 6576 4770

About Verite
Verite is a global, independent, non-profit organisation that conducts research, advocacy, consulting, trainings, and assessments with a vision that people worldwide work under safe, fair, and legal conditions.

Since its inception in 1995, Verite has partnered with hundreds of multinational brands, suppliers, and international institutions in more than 70 countries across multiple sectors to improve working conditions and social performance within global supply chains.

About Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG)
The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) is a multi-stakeholder initiative that strives to achieve the adoption of responsible Palm Oil production practices by key players in the supply chain through developing and sharing a credible and verifiable benchmark that builds upon the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and creating and promoting innovations.

Founded in 2013, the initiative was developed in partnership with leading NGOs as well as with progressive Palm Oil producers.