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close this bookSpecial Public Works Programmes - SPWP - Planting Trees - An Illustrated Technical Guide and Training Manual (ILO - UNDP, 1993, 190 p.)
close this folder9. Working conditions
View the document(introduction...)
View the document9.1 Hours of work and rest
View the document9.2 Nutrition and amenities
View the document9.3 Wage systems
View the document9.4 Training, job content and labour-management relations
View the document9.5 Safety

9.4 Training, job content and labour-management relations

Training of workers

Instruction is important. The quality of planting improves when workers are well instructed and well motivated.

Basic instruction and training should be carried out in small groups so that activities can be well explained and shown in detail. It should start early so that no time is lost when the planting season begins. The training should include general information on the objective of the plantation. The training programme should be designed to update the skills of the workers and foremen regularly. No matter how experienced the workers are, instruction in the correct techniques should be repeated every season.

Instruction should be practical and consist of five steps: explanation, demonstration (by instructor), imitation (by the trainee), correction (by instructor), practice and improvement (by trainees). Common mistakes should be mentioned and opportunities for questions given. Experienced workers have often found better ways to do a job. They should be encouraged to contribute their knowledge. When new methods, tools or equipment are introduced training is particularly important. Through training, the need for the changes can be explained and the new methods learned.

Everyone involved in the operations should know where his/her responsibilities begin and end. If everyone is sure of the contents of his/her job, the work will run more smoothly. The training of foremen should include safety aspects and first aid.

With competent workers, job rotation and job enlargement are possible. In job rotation, two teams or two workers change jobs at regular intervals, e.g. distributing seedlings, digging holes and planting. In job enlargement, a larger number of different tasks is given to the worker or the team, e.g. planning, digging holes and planting. This makes the work more varied and interesting and reduces the need to spend prolonged periods in unfavourable working positions and/or carrying heavy workloads.

Training of workers

Small group instruction

Practical demonstration


Discussion, questions and ideas

Different training steps

Job rotation: changing jobs at regular intervals

Job enlargement: a larger number of different tasks are carried out by one worker

Labour-management relations

For planting work temporary workers are usually hired. It is essential to explain carefully all the general working conditions: who is responsible, the, duration of working time, how the wage is calculated, possible entitlement to social benefits, the basic safety requirements, and the long-term purpose of the work.

Mutual understanding and an open dialogue between management, supervisors and workers are the basis for efficient work and satisfied workers. If two-way communication exists between workers and management, the work needs less supervision and there is greater flexibility in work organization.

In many developing countries forestry and agricultural workers do not belong to a trade union which settles basic labour matters by means of a collective agreement. In the absence of trade unions, workers on large-scale projects may form a workers' council and select a spokesperson to discuss with a representative of management the problems which may arise.

Labour-management relations

Temporary workers are hired

One-way information

Less supervision with open two-way communication


Spokesperson for larger-scale projects