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How do you stimulate social dialogue during the COVID-19 crisis? That is the central question during a two-day event this week in Indonesia. CNV International and employers' organization DECP are working on this topic with their Indonesian partners. Director of CNV International Marit Maij emphasized in her opening speech the importance of a social dialogue between employers and employees to overcome a crisis like this. "We really need each other right now."

It is the first time that Indonesian trade union partner KSBSI and employers' union APINDO have co-organized an event since signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last March. In the MoU, the partners agreed to cooperate and stimulate social dialogue at regional and national level. Maij also called for cooperation on the Omnibus law. This law implicates a major reform of the labor law intended to attract foreign investors to the country. But is also threatens severance payments and in some sectors the minimum wage is under pressure.

From trainer to moderator
CNV International colleague Henk van Beers and his DECP partner Dirk Joosse trained trainers in Indonesia to stimulate social dialogue in the various regions. These trainers who are taking the lead during the event. Henk van Beers: “Especially in these times, an open and constructive dialogue is of great importance in a rapidly developing country as Indonesia. KBSBI and Apindo have good trainers now to share their knowledge and to succeed. It is nice to see colleagues active in their role as trainer ”.

Put yourself in the shoes of the employer
In the regions of Bandung, Jakarta, Makassar and Medan, participants completed role-playing assignments in which employers played the role of trade unions and vice versa. The plenary discussion of the outcomes of the role plays showed the importance of listening carefully to each other and to do effort to understand each other. Common conclusion among both participating employers and employees was to keep a positive mindset. Partners should assume that everyone is willing to  look for solutions.

The event has led to more people interested in social dialogue. The first ideas for a follow-up activity are on the table.

Publication date 27 08 2020