Cooking Oil Price Goes “Crazy”, Palm Oil Workers Suffer

Cooking Oil Price Goes “Crazy”, Palm Oil Workers Suffer

In recent months, news has spread about the increase in the price of packaged cooking oil, and in bulk, the increase in cooking oil is due to the increase in CPO prices in the international market. The people panicked and then the government appeared as if they were heroes with their move to set the Highest Retail Price (HET) based on its class. Retail Rp. 11,000/liter and Premium (packaging) Rp. 14,000/liter, they said, was already in the subsidy mechanism.

The cooking oil subsidy uses funds managed by the Palm Oil Plantation Fund Management Agency (BPDPKS). This subsidy also experienced pros and cons, especially from oil palm farmer organizations. This is reasonable because so far the funds collected at BPDPKS have been enjoyed by oil palm plantation companies that are suppliers of biodiesel raw materials.

It is well known that Indonesia is the country with the largest palm oil plantation in the world and the largest producer of CPO and the highest export of CPO in the world. So, the reason for the increase in world CPO prices which then causes cooking oil prices to rise in Indonesia, shows the government’s sovereignty over the management of the palm oil plantation sector from upstream to downstream. The Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) suspects that there are indications of a palm oil cartel that has caused cooking oil prices to soar.

Cooking oil company owner



Wealth $

Martua SitorusKPN/GAMMA – Wilmar2,9 Billion USD
Anthoni SalimIndofood, Salim Ivomas Pratama, London Sumatera Tbk5,9 Billion USD
Wijdjaja FamilySinarmas, GAR
Sukanto TanotoRoyal Golden Eagle (RGEI) April, Apical, Asian Agri2,1 Billion USD
Bachtiar KarimMusim Mas Group3,1 Billion USD

Still, the price of cooking oil is still above Rp. 15,000/liter in several places outside Java. It is very ironic and sad as the largest CPO producing country in the world.

In the palm oil (CPO) production chain, it cannot be released or forgotten that workers are plantation workers who manage, care for, and harvest palm fruit until they are taken to a processing factory that processes palm fruit bunches into CPO. Then the CPO is sent to a factory producing finished goods, one of which is cooking oil.

The high cost of cooking oil will certainly benefit the oil palm plantation entrepreneurs who control upstream and downstream production as the 5 names above. This includes retail traders such as Indomart, Alfamart and other supermarkets/minimarkets. This includes modern markets which can be said to be the owners of palm oil companies and processing factories. People scream because cooking oil is expensive, oil palm farmers scream because the government has complied with the price of cooking oil by subsidizing the price of cooking oil given to these companies. The story of BPDPKS’ funds for biodiesel has not been finished yet and now for cooking oil again.

The high cost of cooking oil is also felt by producers who produce cooking oil, namely the workers of palm oil plantations. The increase in the price of CPO, the high price of cooking oil and the amount of subsidies provided by the government, are not directly proportional to the welfare of palm oil plantation workers. The export cut levied by the government has burdened oil palm plantation workers because it has an impact on fixed wages and even lower, reduced hours/days of work so that the wages received are low. Other rights which are basic rights that must be fulfilled by the company are also neglected. Even now, many workers are being asked to quit or to be laid off with the excuse of resigning so that their rights in the form of severance pay, work services and other rights will be lost and they will only receive compensation/compensation from the company. There are even those who are deliberately found guilty of being absent.

Unfortunately, the poor working conditions experienced by oil palm plantation workers have not become a serious concern for the government. Cases or problems of plantation workers such as unilateral layoffs, high workloads, low health insurance are cases or problems that are often brought up and reported to the government. However, the government side said that the low productivity of oil palm plantations was caused by workers. Facts on the ground show that the conditions of workers/workers are far from the mandate of the 1945 Constitution and other laws or regulations made by the government with the aim of prospering the people. What happened was the opposite, impoverishing the people. Oil palm plantation workers are the main actors in increasing company coffers and state revenues can only lament their fate in the current political and economic uncertainty.

The company’s profits from the increase in CPO prices and the increase in cooking oil prices, and the profits obtained by the government from export taxes, are the result of the hard work and long sweat of the palm oil plantation workers. From this suffering, it produces happiness in a few people and the pleasure of city people who scream at the high price of cooking oil but do not see how the suffering of the workers of oil palm plantation companies has given pleasure and happiness to entrepreneurs, oligarchs and other city people. The government seems to turn a blind eye to the plight of the palm oil plantation workers, so that no single regulation has been created to provide a sense of security, comfort and protection for oil palm plantation workers whose number is above 3 million people. Instead, they are busy with the election being postponed or continued.

As a producer, the high price of cooking oil also adds to their previous burdens in terms of meeting their daily needs such as healthy food for the family, school fees for their children, which they (laborers) have to work more to earn overtime wages or even work somewhere else. other. Especially for women workers, the suffering they feel is more tragic, many women workers work in oil palm plantations in the fertilization section which of course is in direct contact with chemicals. Female workers in the fertilization division have to spend approximately 300 kilograms of fertilizer, which is sown with a 50 kilogram sack of fertilizer each for 1 working day (HK) of IDR 100,000. Returning to work, female workers who are married have to take care of the household, prepare family meals and so on.

Oil palm plantation workers, who are the main actors, do not enjoy the increase in CPO prices, cooking oil and subsidies received by the company. In fact, oil palm plantation workers must also feel the impact of the high cost of cooking oil. So it can be concluded that the suffering of oil palm plantation workers suffers 3 times more than the screams of expensive cooking oil.

Writer: Teraju Foundation

Editor: Teraju Foundation


  3. Factsheet Indonesia Budget Center


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