n Southern African Forestry Journal - A framework for analyzing workforce dynamics in forest harvesting in South Africa : management paper

Volume 2002, Issue 196
  • ISSN : 0038-2167



People are the industry's most valuable asset. However, due to its dynamic nature, labour cannot be owned but only rented. A framework for measuring, monitoring and managing labour dynamics is used and tested in forest harvesting operations in South Africa and the results presented. Overall, the workforce in forest harvesting is unstable : the median labour turnover (monthly basis) and absenteeism (daily basis) are 4 % and 6 %, respectively. Of further concern are : high instability in some individual contractor businesses (employees were much more stable with private grower companies than presently with contractors) ; and contractors not measuring and monitoring labour turnover. Labour turnover rates depend primarily on the conditions of employment offered by the contractor. The framework and results presented in this article are prerequisites for sustainable development. Efforts should be made to put appropriate short, medium and long term measures in place to reduce labour turnover and absenteeism, and to manage it.

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