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Shipbreaker physically assaulted

17 March, 2022A worker at Kabir Steel shipbreaking yard in Bangladesh has been physically assaulted after protesting against being unfairly fired.

In February, the cutter at Kabir Steel shipbreaking yard was sacked without a written order. Despite interventions by IndustriALL affiliate, the Bangladesh Metal Workers Federation (BMF), management refused to reinstate him. BMF then lodged a formal complaint with the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE).

Angered by the worker’s action of complaining to the DIFE, management abused him and, according to the worker, also physically assaulted him. 

“We strongly condemn this act of violence meted out to a worker for complaining against Kabir Steel management. These intimidation tactics are unacceptable and action should be taken against the assaulters,”

says IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kan Matsuzaki.

DIFE recommended that the union and the employer try to settle the matter. After a bipartite meeting 15 March, management apologized to the worker and agreed to compensate him by 20 March. The employer also took responsibility for the assault.
There has been several accidents at the Kabir Steel shipbreaking yard due to the unsafe working conditions. On 31 January, a worker was killed while working at the yard at night. Local press report that the Ministry of Industry ordered a temporary closure of the yard as the worker’s death created ‘negative perceptions about the ship recycling industry in home and abroad’.

In November last year, the ministry fined Khwaja ship breaking yard, also known as Kabir Steel Ship Recycling Facilities, BDT500,000 (US$5,700) and banned the company from importing scrap ships for four months due to environmental concerns and lack of safety measures at the yard. Operations at the yard were suspended for similar reasons in 2019.

According to reports, Kabir Steel shipbreaking yard has applied for the Hong Kong International Convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships (HKC).