IKEA Workers’ Caravan: Low wages at PT Integra in Indonesia

The second leg of BWI’s “IKEA Workers’ Caravan of Stories,” a campaign to enable IKEA workers in different countries to share with one another their working lives and experiences, brings us to PT Integra Indo Cabinet located in Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia. 

PT Integra IndoCabinet employs 5,500 workers and has a second factory that employs 1,600 workers in Lamongan, also in East Java. These factories are part of the Integra Group, the largest wood processing company in Indonesia. Integra is an integrated company covering operations from upstream to downstream. It produces wood products, including outdoor furniture, doors and window frames as well as rattan-based products. The company has international standard certificates as it exports to Europe, supplying IKEA. Products that do not meet these quality standards are sold in the local market. 

SERBUK-Indonesia, a trade union affiliated with BWI, interviewed Adil Sentosa (name changed to protect his identity), a worker at the PT Integra IndoCabinet , who for the last 14 years is permanently employed at the factory's production facility. 

Although Adil is a permanent employee in the company, his wages are not paid in full. In fact, both permanent and daily workers in the company are properly paid in accordance with government regulations. The daily waged workers, known as borongan, also have fluctuating wages and are required to work long hours without guaranteed overtime payments. 

Because wages are inadequate, many workers must work part-time elsewhere to earn additional income to cover basic living expenses, according to Adil. “To cover household expenses, I have to be an online ojek driver to earn extra money,” he said. As a result, Adil said that fatigue from overwork increases on-the-job health and safety risks at the factory. He explained that their side jobs require them to work late at nights and even on weekends. 

On top of the wage problem, Adil said that workers have issues regarding their transportation and meal allowances. Promotion procedures and policies are also not clear, and no additional benefits or wages are paid in recognition of their long service. "We are being treated unfairly. We feel helpless," Adil said.

Adil said that while there is a trade union at the plant, the All Indonesia Trade Union (SPSI), he is not aware of any union action conducted to address poor working conditions in his long tenure of work in the company. He also said that the union does not  organise educational activities for workers, including its own members. This led him to question whether or not the union is real, saying that workers have never filled out forms to become members, but membership fees are being deducted from their pay. "Even though workers objected, no one dared to protest," he said.

Adil observed that the union merely provides its "stamp of approval" to many of the company’s policies. He mentioned that during company audits by external auditors or the Office of Manpower, the SPSI instructs workers to say that the company’s facilities, benefits and overall working conditions are good. "We are threatened with layoffs if we reveal the true working conditions of the company," said Adil. 

He also reported that the SPSI solely determines the provisions of their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) without consulting its members. Whenever workers ask about wage scales, overtime compensation and other terms of the CBA, both the union and management said that they have all been determined in the previous agreement and should not be questioned. Adil said that the management tell workers that if they don’t agree with the provisions, they can all resign and leave.