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Foundation stone laid for shipbreaking workers’ training centre in India

29 January, 2016More than 18,000 union members in the shipbreaking industry will benefit from a new training centre in Alang, India, due to be completed by August 2016.

Around 800 delegates including workers, national trade union leaders, employer representatives and government officials attended a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the new training centre on 17 January at the world’s biggest ship recycling centre.   

The centre is being built for members of IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, the Alang Sosiya Shiprecycling General Workers Association (ASSRGWA). It marks another step forward towards increasing awareness among shipbreaking workers on health and safety issues and workers’ rights.

Speaking at the ceremony, which also marked the tenth anniversary of the union, ASSRGWA general secretary, Vidyadhar Rane, highlighted the importance of the training centre and hoped that this initiative will help improving working conditions. He also underlined IndustriALL and its affiliates’ consistent support to ASSRGWA initiatives since its formation.

Fahimuddin Pasha, education and programme officer, at IndustriALL’s South Asia Office, congratulated ASSRGWA and said "on the tenth anniversary of its founding, it is fitting that its leaders renew their pledge to build union power by combating precarious work and defending workers’ rights, in line with IndustriALL’s strategic goals and action plan of the sector.”  

The training centre will be built with the support from Japan Federation of Basic Industry Workers' Unions - JBU.

The shipbreaking industry is one of the most hazardous jobs in the world. Most of the shipbreaking workers in South Asia are engaged in dismantling ships without any training on safety and health issues. Numerous accidents in shipbreaking yards lead to the death and serious injury of hundreds of workers every year. Providing basic training on health and safety issues will go a long way to improving working conditions.

Since its inception, ASSRGWA has been organizing shipbreaking workers with the focus on improving working conditions, wages and creating awareness on workers’ rights. Along with IndustriALL Global Union and its Dutch affiliate FNV, ASSRGWA has conducted a number of trainers’ workshops on specific aspects of shipbreaking including understanding how the yard is organized, composition of different ships, lines of communication, working safely with steel cables, piping, tanks and colour codes.

Many those who were trained in the workshops are already involved in teaching new workers.

Shipbreaking is predominantly carried out in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China and Turkey.