On World Tourism Day, September 27, members of the IUF-affiliated FSPM held public rallies and marches in five cities across the country to call on local governments to support “building back” Indonesian tourism and to “build back better”.

They also protested against unfair dismissals and rights violations at hotel properties. This includes the mass dismissal of union leaders and members at Marriot’s W Bali Seminyak and Courtyard by Marriot in Bandung as well as Accor’s Fairmont Sanur in Bali.

For FSPM members building back better means recognizing the value of the work of hotel, restaurant and tourism workers, protecting job security and health, and respecting trade union rights. This is the only way to ensure the safe and sustainable recovery of tourism in Indonesia.

Indonesia is the first country sign the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics. On June 15, 2021, FSPM wrote to the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy welcoming the Government’s ratification of the Framework Convention. FSPM observed that the preamble to the Framework Convention makes a strong commitment to “full and productive employment and decent work for all” and specifically refers to the fundamental ILO Conventions including the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. FSPM declared that:

In this crisis there are employers who negotiated with FSPM member unions and worked together to protect jobs and wages. These employers acted “ethically” by working together with our unions to limit the negative impact of this crisis on workers and their families. These ethical employers respected our rights and understood that our hard-working members deserved to be treated fairly. They also recognized that the skills and experience of our members are vital for the future recovery of the tourism industry in Indonesia.

Having recognized that some employers responded ethically, FSPM then drew attention to employers who did not:

However, we regret that there are some employers and hotel operators that were ‘unethical’ in facing the pandemic, choosing to impose mass redundancies and refuse to pay unpaid wages. These employers did not respect freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining. Instead, they shifted the burden of this pandemic to workers and their families, causing great hardship. These unethical employers did not take care to consider the skills and experience of our members and to be ready for the recovery of tourism. Instead, these employers took a short-term view to save money and cut costs at the expense of jobs and livelihoods. This behavior does not support ethical tourism in Indonesia.

The World Tourism Day rallies in Jakarta, Bali, Bandung, Yogyakarta and Surabaya on September 27 drew attention to the importance of ethical tourism in building back better. At the same time this threw a spotlight on major international companies like Marriott and Accor who have chosen to be unethical in this crisis and recovery.