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In November 2022, a SECO delegation travelled to Indonesia to discuss labour and employment issues with representatives of the Indonesian Ministry of Labour and with Swiss and Indonesian social partners. Switzerland supports efficient manufacturers in the Indonesian textile and garment industry that provide jobs with decent working conditions.
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The Swiss delegation visited the PT. Sumbiri garment factory in Central Java, which employs almost 4,000 people. Since 2015 it has been operating in line with the Better Work programme initiated by Switzerland and the International Labour Organization. The factory has increased its participation in social dialogue and improved cooperation, health and safety standards in the workplace.
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Boris Zürcher

Head of the Labour Directorate at SECO

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SECO's mission falls under Switzerland's sustainable foreign economic policy and demonstrates in practice how the free trade agreement between the EFTA states and Indonesia is being implemented.
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The textile and garment industry employs over 60 million people worldwide, predominantly women. In some countries, textiles account for 70% of total exports. The Better Work programme helps export companies to comply with national labour laws and international labour standards. It advises and trains management and workers in workplace cooperation, quality management, occupational safety and cooperative human resource management, as well as environmentally friendly production methods.
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Better Work helps participating companies to improve compliance with employee protection regulations. By the end of 2022, the programme had led to improved working conditions for 3.3 million employees in terms of pay and working hours. This was possible because participating companies operate more productively and are so able to increase their profits.

However, not all existing regulations are being complied with. Issues remain in areas such as health and safety in the workplace, honouring employment contracts and limiting overtime.

Better Work will strive to improve the situation by 2027. The programme will also endeavour to make supply chains more resilient to global crises.

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