'Poor retraining' puts jobs at risk

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 October, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 October, 1995, 12:00am

VACANCIES are unfilled and may disappear because of the ineffectiveness of government retraining programmes, employers' groups have warned.

The Retail Management Association and the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners believe some companies who fail to find local workers to replace foreigners when their contracts expire may be forced to close the positions.

The groups criticise the Employee Retraining Board for offering courses that are too short to change the attitude of manufacturing workers to meet the needs of the service sector.

Alice Chan Lai-hing, executive director of the association, said most retrained workers were not willing to work long hours and were unable to deal with customers effectively.

The association represents about 400 companies with 4,500 outlets.

Mrs Chan said there were at least 2,000 vacancies available among her members.

Michael Li Hon-shing, executive director of the hotel federation, said only a handful of the 1,367 graduates for the industry were able to pick up the trade completely.

Mr Li said the graduates could handle most house-keeping jobs but not services at the tables.

'More labour-intensive businesses will either go out of business or shut down their operations here and move across the border where costs are cheaper and labour abundant,' he said.

Chow Tung-shan, executive director of the board, refused to say whether his programme was effective.

'I want to stay out of controversies. They want to get the foreign workers back. They could say whatever they want.' The Government has proposed to replace the existing general labour scheme with a new one, with a 5,000 quota.