SINGAPORE: The first thing one notices when entering the sorting area in SembWaste’s Materials Recovery Facility is the mountain of rubbish made of items such as plastic bags, boxes, tin cans and even a shoe or two.
This is the tipping hall where recyclables from commercial and municipal partners are collected.
The sorting process begins when the truck tips the collected recyclables into a conveyor belt, funnelling them into the next room where orange-jacketed workers wait, assembly line-style.
Accompanied by the rumble of heavy machinery, workers sort the items that come to them on conveyor belts.
Tossing aside rejects such as pillows and shoes, they separate the remaining items into material types and send them on their way.
COMPANY TRAINING COMMITTEE
These workers at the Materials’ Recovery Facility are the ones who stand to benefit from a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between SembWaste and the Building Construction And Timber Industries Employees’ Union (BATU) on Thursday (Jun 6).
SembWaste and BATU will set up a company training committee to design training programmes for employees and upgrade their skills, supported by the National Trades Union Congress’s Employment and Employability Institute (NTUC’s e2i), NTUC LearningHub and the National University of Singapore.
The training committee is one of more than 50 such committees NTUC has established. It aims toestablish training committees in 1,000 companies over the next three years.
Announced in April this year, the training committees will help workers keep pace with technological changes in their industry.
Speaking at the event, NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng described the partnership as a “win-win situation” for SembWaste and its workers.
“This will position the company to exploit technologies faster, better, and in turn, workers will be able to keep up with the technologies,” he said.
As part of this training programme, SembWaste has introduced Asia’s first Econic refuse collection truck with enhanced safety features.
It will have better visibility, a blind-spot camera system, and a low-entry concept that will allow drivers to make eye contact with other road users.
In addition, the company has also invested in driving simulators to train truck drivers in "safe and defensive driving".
All these measures are meant to maximise workers’ potential and equip them with proper safety knowledge, said senior vice president of waste management at Sembcorp Industries Neo Hong Keat.
“In this industry, people (are our) greatest asset. We want our people to do their job safely and effectively. We want to make sure every worker can do their job properly so they can go back to their families at the end of the day,” he said.