Benefits and facilitiesCreating a good standard of living and a strong sense of community on the plantations is critical to attracting and retaining employees, particularly given the remote location in which we operate. REA encourages employees to bring their families to live on the plantation as this improves morale and creates a more balanced community. REA is conscious that living in a remote location can be challenging and encourages all staff to leave the plantation on a regular basis by taking long weekends in addition to their annual leave allowance.
REA’s policy is to provide all permanent employees who wish to live on the plantation with housing for themselves and their families, which is particularly important given the remote location of the group’s estates.
Good quality housing and community facilities for employees are a priority. The group continues to build houses using “bataco” bricks, which are produced in-house by mixing boiler ash from the mills with cement. Use of this material has significantly reduced both the cost and environmental footprint of new houses in recent years. In 2019, new houses were built for 100 families on the group’s estates. Village emplacements are provided with medical clinics, crèches, mosques, churches, sports facilities and markets. There is an annual competition for the best house and best estate village to encourage respect for the environment.
There is an annual competition for the best house and best estate village to encourage respect for the environment, and the group provides each village emplacement with a medical clinic, church, mosque, sports facilities and a market.
In February 2019, with the support of the group’s community development department, the staff cooperative Koperasi REA Mandiri, converted an existing open market at the Perdana Central housing complex into a small supermarket (REA Mart) supplying everyday groceries and household items to employees and their families. This initiative has proved to be extremely popular as the cooperative is able to secure bulk purchases from suppliers enabling the shop to offer goods at cheaper prices than has been previously achievable. In October 2019, a second REA Mart shop was established in a new building at Lestari Main housing complex on the northern side of the Belayan River. This means that REA Mart now serves both the northern and southern estate areas offering competitively priced items. There are plans for further expansion of the enterprise in the future to enable REA employees and families located in other estates to more easily access REA Mart shops close to where they live.
In 2008, the group established a foundation to manage the network of schools across the estates that are authorised in accordance with government regulations. The foundation manages 28 schools, including 13 pre-schools, 14 primary schools and one secondary school. At the end of 2019, there were 2,617 students (434 pre-school, 1,964 primary school and 219 secondary school children) enrolled in the group’s school system.
Healthcare provision is usually extremely limited in the remote rural areas in Indonesia, such as in the locations of the group’s operations. The group has therefore established a network of 18 clinics to provide healthcare to employees, their family members and members of the local communities living in proximity to the group’s operations. There is a team of two doctors, 17 paramedics, 12 midwives, one dentist and one pharmacist on site. All employees receive training in basic life support skills and staff at certain levels receive training in first aid. Employees are also provided with information on, and training to prevent, the ten most prevalent infectious diseases, such as diarrhoea, dengue haemorrhagic fever and typhoid fever, and female employees receive training in the early detection and prevention of cervical cancer.
Monthly immunisation programmes are provided for families, including polio-immunisation in collaboration with external medical professionals as part of an Indonesian government programme. Blood and lung tests are conducted twice a year to check for chemical exposure in workers who come into regular contact with pesticides and other chemicals. If workers test positive for pesticide exposure, they are rotated out of spraying into other roles. Random drug testing is conducted throughout the year to prevent drug usage and addiction amongst employees.