Unions hit out at training scheme

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 October, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 October, 1994, 12:00am

LABOUR unionists yesterday poured cold water on the results of the labour retraining programme - a policy highlighted as a major success in the report.

'The Employees Retraining Board has retrained 24,800 workers since November 1992, exceeding the target by 9,800,' the report says.

'As a result, we have increased the target for August 1995 from 25,000 to 50,000 workers.' The board was set up early last year with a $300 million injection from the Government.

The report also says the board has provided training for more than 1,500 industrial accident victims, elderly workers and disabled workers.

But Leung Fu-wah, spokesman for the 210,000-strong Federation of Trade Unions, said he would not even give a pass to the re-training programme, because it had failed to achieve its ultimate aim of helping the unemployed find jobs.

Mr Leung said the programmes did not offer enough practical training.

'What they offer most is psychological adaption training which focuses on teaching people to get used to a different working environment.

'Courses that offer practical assistance such as computer courses or English language courses are relatively small in number and can only serve a very small proportion of applicants,' he said.

Mr Leung accused the Government of playing a 'numerical trick' when praising the Employees Retraining Board for making remarkable achievements in the past two years.

'The figure only means the number of people registered for the courses. It doesn't mean the number of people who actually benefitted from the programmes.

'Since the board was formally set up in early 1993, it has failed to carry out its role to help the unemployed,' he said.

Choy Chak-hung, executive-secretary of the Confederation of Trade Unions, said the success of the programme should not be evaluated merely by the number of workers attending the courses.

The problem was that many workers still found themselves jobless after attending the retraining programme, he said.