Sarawak timber firms reluctant to send workers for training


Tuesday October 10, 2006

Sarawak timber firms reluctant to send workers for training

KUCHING: Many timber companies in Sarawak are reluctant to send their workers for training in various skills for fear of losing them, said Sarawak Timber Associations chairman Datuk Leo Chai.

He said these firms were worried that their workers would leave the jobs if they were not paid more after being trained.

In other cases, he said, there were companies which refused to release their employees for training as this would result in a drop in timber production.

Surprisingly, the big companies are less supportive of training than the smaller companies, added Chai at the launch of the associations post-graduate diploma programme in applied science (sustainable tropical forest management) here on Tuesday.

The association started its skills training programmes for logging workers in 1996 when it engaged a New Zealand trainer to teach chainsaw operators (tree fellers) on directional felling, safety and proper maintenance of chainsaws.

Chai said this was to improve safety, reduce accidents and damages to the residual crop trees.

Chai said the logging industry was known to have high accident rates.

He said thousands of tree-fellers had since been trained, and the association had started its train the trainer programme to enable them to help train their own workers.

The association will soon begin the training on log extraction and loading.

Chai said the post-graduate diploma programme was designed for forestry and other graduates working in the field and logging camps at supervisory and management level to help them in the sustainable management of forest resources.