TUED South To Convene in Indonesia for Asia-Pacific Regional Policy Meeting
June 21, 2024
|        BULLETIN #

TUED South To Convene in Indonesia for Asia-Pacific Regional Policy Meeting

TUED South will be holding its first Asia-Pacific (A-P) regional policy meeting following the launch of TUED South in Nairobi, Kenya in October 2022.  Regional policy meetings of TUED have thus far taken place in Johannesburg (May 2023) and Bogota (May 2024). 

The meeting in Bali, Indonesia, between July 29th – 31st 2024, will bring together unions from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Korea. 

Discussions will kick off a multi-year effort to build support for a public pathway approach to the energy transition in the Asia-Pacific region.  Participating unions have identified a need to build union capacity to effectively and consistently engage and advocate for action around climate change and the energy transition. Equally important, the A-P Regional Policy meeting will continue in the TUED South tradition of deepening cooperation among unions across the Global South, specifically around knowledge sharing, strategy coordination, campaigns, and policy initiatives.  

Indonesian Unions Meet in Jakarta 

Between July 22-24, the week before the regional policy meeting, TUED will meet with Indonesian energy unions in Jakarta for three days of workshops dedicated to building the Public Pathway in the country. The meeting, hosted by Public Services International of Indonesia,  aims to build off Indonesian trade unions’ campaigns to defend public energy against the threat posed by the “privatise to decarbonise” agenda reflected in the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) between the rich countries and the Indonesian government.  

Participating unions in the Jakarta workshops will include: 

  •  Persatuan Pegawai PT PLN Indonesia Power or PP-IP 
  • Serikat Pekerja PT PLN Persero or SP PLN Persero
  • Serikat Pekerja Pembangkat Jawa Bali or SP PJB 

Goals of the Bali Meeting 

Irene HongPing Shen, lead organiser at TUED, explained that “the Bali meeting provides trade unions a space and an opportunity to begin discussions on some critical and complicated characteristics of the region that impact the energy transition and climate change.” 

“As a whole, emissions are rising in the region every year as a number of its economies are developing, primarily based on fossil fuel use. Governments with the fastest growing GDPs including China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and others have announced their national emissions targets for 2030, but how are those achieved, given both the roles of production and consumption of fossil fuels in the region? Meanwhile, following Africa, the Asia-Pacific region  has the largest population in energy poverty with women’s work being directly impacted by it and the limited access to clean cooking fuels and technologies. And what is the role of women who, at best, are marginalised in the discussions and forced to take up either the role of community grid entrepreneurs and/or support the dominant narrative of “privatize to decarbonize” policies which have proved regressive and ineffective? In Bali, we hope a public pathway framing will facilitate discussions to advance a solutions-based trade union effort that begins to address the current energy transition challenges,” added HongPing Shen.   

Consistent with the previous TUED South regional policy meetings, the goals of the Bali meeting are both organisational and programmatic. 

The main organisational goals of Bali are:

  • Begin to develop a 3-year work plan aimed at growing and strengthening the presence of unions in the debates on energy transition and climate protection
  • Identify women trade unionists who want to work on developing a feminist position on the public pathway framing to the energy transition   
  • Integrate unions in the A-P region into the TUED South platform, and facilitate A-P unions’ full participation in the TUED South Interregional meeting in Buenos Aires in late November or early December 2024
  • Consider the means to anchor the TUED South work in Indonesia, where energy struggles are currently unfolding and further struggles are likely to develop. 
  • Explore plans to engage with A-P unions that are not currently in TUED. 

The main political and programmatic goals are: 

  • Review and assess the current role of unions in energy and climate-related debates and struggles. What has been the experience thus far? 
  • Engage women trade unionists from the Asia Pacific region to participate in ongoing activities that develop women’s leadership around a public pathway approach to climate and energy issues.
  • Support unions in the development of positions and (potentially) initiatives and campaigns to advance the public pathway approach in the A-P region in ways that are realistic and appropriate.  

In the short term, several specific energy and climate-related issues demand trade union attention and programmatic clarity. At the Bali meeting, we will aim to: 

  1. Develop a clear position on the Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JETPs) and similar “privatise to decarbonise” initiatives. A draft statement will be circulated before the meeting for review and discussion
  2. Consider a trade union approach to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); the country’s dominance in solar, wind, battery, and electric vehicle markets, and the country’s current role in energy financing. 
  3. Consider trade union approaches to state-owned enterprises (SOEs), including their potential to scale up the development of rural micro to medium-sized energy grids. 

Key “big picture” questions:


  1. How can unions organise around both the right to energy and the need for a truly sustainable model of low-carbon development?
  2. How can unions integrate energy transition issues into the struggle for worker and democratic rights, including the rights of women, the landless, and rural dwellers?
  1. Is the analysis offered in the TUED South Framing Document accurate?  Is it useful?  What aspects need further development? 
  1. How can unions monitor and respond to energy-related policies and trends? 
  1. How can unions develop plausible public pathway proposals to achieve the “net zero” climate commitments made by the region’s major economies?

Trade Union Leaders from the Region 

“One of the key goals is to transform the meeting from an organisational trade union space into a policy space with a differentiated but shared analysis that will contribute to the development of coordinated policy demands centring the Public Pathway in the Asia Pacific region,” explained Indah Budiarti, Project Coordinator of the PSI Southeast Asia Office based in Indonesia. 

“Diversity is one of the hallmarks of the Asia-Pacific region, with huge differences within and between national political conditions and trade union movements. And despite trade union struggles, energy privatisation policies remain a critical challenge for many unions across the region. I hope that this first TUED South regional conference will be the first step in turning the complex dynamics of the region into a positive force and starting a strategic dialogue on how the public pathways approach can be applied at the regional level,” said SungHee Oh, Director of International Affairs of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union (KPTU). 

“Climate change is worsening due to unchecked energy expansion, while many in the Global South, especially in Asia, suffer from energy deprivation. The labour movement in Asia must champion a Public Pathway towards energy democracy. This makes the TUED South meeting in Bali crucial. We aim to share our struggle for a just transition in the transport sector, our efforts to protect electric coops from corporatisation, and learn from others to enhance our strategies for energy democracy,” stated Josua Mata, General Secretary of the national labour centre Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO).