HOW DO WE TREAT OUR PORTERS & STAFF?
Sandakan Spirit adheres to International standards with regards to working conditions. In many instances we are exceed the minimum standard. The minimum standard is set down by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG) which recommends the following guidelines:
1. Clothing appropriate to season and altitude must be provided to porters for protection from cold, rain and snow. This may mean: windproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, long johns, suitable footwear (leather boots in snow), socks, hat, gloves and sunglasses.
2. Above the tree line porters should have a dedicated shelter, either a room in a lodge or a tent (the trekkers’ mess tent is no good as it is not available till late evening), a sleeping pad and a blanket (or sleeping bag). They should be provided with food and warm drinks, or cooking equipment and fuel.
3. Porters should be provided with the same standard of medical care as you would expect for yourself, and life insurance.
4. Porters should not be paid off because of illness/injury without the leader or the trekkers assessing their condition carefully. The person in charge of the porters (sirdar) must let their trek leader or the trekkers know if a sick porter is about to be paid off. Failure to do this has resulted in many deaths. Sick/injured porters should never be sent down alone, but with someone who speaks their language and understands their problem, along with a letter describing their complaint. Sufficient funds should be provided to cover cost of rescue and treatment.
5. No porter should be asked to carry a load that is too heavy for their physical abilities
Weight limits may need to be adjusted for altitude, trail and weather conditions; experience is needed to make this decision.