Building international solidarity between shipbuilding and shipbreaking workers


The first joint shipbuilding/shipbreaking conference of IMF and EMF is seen as a positive and successful experience by the participants. Both organisations will try and explore opportunities for further international cooperation and solidarity in this field.

TURKEY: The first joint IMF-EMF Global Conference on Safe, Sustainable and Green Jobs in Shipbuilding/Shipbreaking took place on 13-14 September 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. 45 participants, 19 unions and 9 organizations from 15 countries had an active discussion about creation of strategic links between shipbuilding and shipbreaking workers. The discussions at the conference were organized in three sessions:

Session 1: OHS (Occupational Health & Safety), Green Jobs, and Organizing at Workplace;

  • Panel Discussion 1: How we can improve working conditions at the workplaces,
  • Panel Discussion 2: Sharing good practices of OHS and Green Jobs,

Session 2: Promoting a "Sustainable and Green" Industry;

  • Panel Discussion 3: Implementation of International Rules and Standards in Industry on OHS and Environment,
  • Panel Discussion 4: Making the shipbuilding/shipbreaking industry more sustainable and greener- providing sustainable jobs,

Session 3: Developing Future Activities in the shipbuilding-shipbreaking sector

  • Panel Discussion 5: Achieving fair and leveler playing field for our future

At the end of the conference, the conclusions were unanimously adopted. IMF and EMF will continue to cooperate with other GUFs, international/regional organizations to make their sectorial activities more effective and stronger.

Many fatal accidents still occur in this sector all over the world, especially in Turkey (both in the shipbuilding and shipbreaking industry) and in the South Asian region (in shipbreaking). Prior to the conference, on September 12, Kan Matsuzaki, IMF Director for shipbuilding and shipbreaking, raised the OHS and organizing issues faced by the workers employed in this sector at the ITUC symposium "Unions make work safer -- Trade union strategies for tackling unhealthy workplaces" at the XIX World Congress on Safety and Health at Work.

The IMF-EMF conference also called all the participants to give their solidarity support to the struggle of Hanjin workers and Korean Metal Workers' Union, KMWU.