Vaccines for Garment Workers to End the Transmission of COVID-19 at Workplace
27 January 2022
The ILO’s Better Work and the Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo) partner to deliver over 20,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines for garment workers.
The ILO through its Better Work Indonesia (BWI) programme joined forces with the Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo) to facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccines for garment workers, their families and factories’ neighbouring communities in Semarang, Central Java last year. The vaccine programme was implemented through 12 vaccination centres and with the support of eight factories employing thousands of workers under the ILO’s BWI programme.
This vaccination programme is vital to ensure better protection for workers’ safety and health and to prevent the disruption of production activities."
To date, 21,120 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been given, contributing to the national effort to create safer workplaces, protect workers from the infection of COVID-19 and end the virus transmission at workplaces—as one of high clusters for the COVID-19 transmission. Given its labour-intensive nature, the garment industry and particularly garment factories, play an important role in contributing to the Indonesian government’s target to reach 208 million people by March 2022.
Eltruidis Widyarsanti, Human Resource Supervisor of PT Sansan Saudaratex Jaya, a garment factory in Semarang, greatly welcomed this vaccine programme. To provide better protection for 649 of employees at the factory she works for, she tried her hardest to secure vaccines by contacting universities, hospitals and other companies.
Thus, we were delighted and grateful when we were informed by BWI about this joint vaccine programme for garment factories workers, their families and surrounding communities."
Eltruidis Widyarsanti, Human Resource Supervisor of PT Sansan Saudaratex Jaya, a garment factory in Semarang
“We were struggling to find vaccines. Thus, we were delighted and grateful when we were informed by BWI about this joint vaccine programme for garment factories workers, their families and surrounding communities. It is important to make sure a safe and healthy workplace that does not only protect workers but also sustain the operation of business,” said Widyarsanti.
However, her job was not made easy. At least half of the employees refused to be vaccinated. Many feared they would be tested positive, while other worried about the vaccine’s side effects.
The rejection did not make her given up. She ramped up efforts to spread awareness about benefits of the vaccines by asking supervisors from each division to disseminate COVID-19 vaccine information during their daily briefings. The company also posted flyers and installed a television at the factory’s entrance to continuously broadcasts information on the COVID-19 vaccines.
As a result, to date, 95 percent of the employees are vaccinated.
Nothing to worry about vaccines. Take me as an example, I turned out fine and felt protected. We can all be healthy and safe from COVID-19."
Indah Rayuningsih, one of the garment workers
Indah Rayuningsih was one of the workers who refused to get vaccinated. She was afraid the vaccines could cause death based on rampant misinformation she heard about the vaccines. She changed her mind when she further learned about the real facts of the vaccines and her families’ good conditions after vaccines.
“Nothing to worry about vaccines. Take me as an example, I turned out fine and felt protected. We can all be healthy and safe from COVID-19,” told Rayuningsih who has been active to persuade her fellow co-workers, families and surrounding communities to get vaccinated.
“Despite the risk of COVID-19 transmission at the workplace, garment factories continue to produce and provide job continuity for workers during the pandemic. Although the health protocols have been strictly implemented, it is certainly difficult for workers to avoid exposure from the virus,” said Olivia Krishanty, BWI’s Operation Manager. “This vaccination programme is vital to ensure better protection for workers’ safety and health and to prevent the disruption of production activities.”
Better Work Indonesia (BWI) programme Better Work Indonesia is a partnership between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The programme aims to improve compliance with labour standards and promote competitiveness in global supply chains.
ILO-BMZ Project The ILO’s Occupational Safety and Health and Income Support in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Project, funded the Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), aims to strengthening OSH measures to facilitate return to work in acceptable conditions of safety and health after COVID 19 lockdown, particularly in garment sector.