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Workers’ strike halts ship recycling at 22 facilities

Workers’ strike halts ship recycling at 22 facilities
The production at 22 ship recycling facilities has been stopped at Izmir Aliaga district in Turkey amid the workforce strike for better employment conditions in the last six days.

According to NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a coalition campaigning for clean and safe ship recycling, around 1,500 workers claim that they do not earn enough money, with their recent pay raise remaining below the galloping inflation rate.

As informed, the action was initiated spontaneously by employees of several ship recycling facilities when people gathered in front of the offices of the Ship Recycles’ Association and marched to the yards.

The workers’ demands, besides better living wages, are personal protective equipment and increased investments in occupational health and safety in the sector. NGO notes that multiple accidents were reported, with the same causes over the last 30 years.

Asli Odman, academic at Istanbul Health and Safety Labour Watch, explains that workers are also falling sick and dying of occupational diseases many years after being exposed to toxins found on ships, but these numbers go totally unreported.

“We hope that the current strike and recent accidents will prompt a significant improvement in terms of occupational health and safety for the workers in Aliaga.

We invite the European Commission to take this information into account when reviewing facilities already included in the EU List and new candidates for inclusion“, says Nicola Mulinaris, senior communication and policy advisor at the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

Also, when it comes to environmental performance, Turkish facilities have room for improvement.

The platform is of the opinion that the landing method used in Aliaga should be progressively phased out, in favour of the use of fully contained areas for scrapping, NGO concludes.

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