Benefits and facilities

Creating 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.

Housing

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. Each year, there is a programme for building new houses and renovating existing properties and infrastructure for families living on the group’s estates. Village emplacements are provided with medical clinics, crèches, mosques, churches, sports facilities and markets.

Employee cooperative shops (“REA Mart”), established with the support of the group’s community development department, serve the group’s northern and southern estate areas, supplying everyday groceries and household items for the benefit of employees living in estate housing. The shops are able to bulk purchase and thereby source products competitively. REA Mart has continued to provide supplies throughout the period of the pandemic.

Schools

In 2008, the group established a foundation to manage the network of schools across the estates. These schools are authorised in accordance with government regulations. The foundation now manages 27 schools, including 13 pre-schools, 13 primary schools and 1 secondary school. At the end of 2020, there were 2,774 students (535 pre-school, 1,997 primary school and 242 secondary school children) enrolled in the group’s school system.

Healthcare

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 19 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 2 doctors, 18 paramedics, 13 midwives, 1 dentist and 1 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 10 most prevalent infectious diseases, such as 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.

In response to the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the group adopted a strict testing and isolation policy at the group’s operational sites in addition to the restriction of visitors entering the location. In line with government guidelines, protocols were swiftly established to limit face to face interactions, promote the use of face masks, practice social distancing, increase the frequency of hand washing and increase sanitation of work and communal facilities. Such actions helped to minimise the number of positive Covid-19 cases with the first case reported on the estates only in November 2020. For 2020 as a whole, 41 positive Covid-19 cases were identified out of 405 tests conducted, with all such identified cases making a full recovery and there being no hospitalisations.