24 September 2011

Gadani Shipbreaking Industry Pakistan: OSH & Worst Working Conditions of Workers

Presented by: Pakistan Metalworkers’ Federation (PMF);
Affiliated to International Metalworkers’ Federation

Gadani Ship Breaking Industry:



The shipbreaking yards are situated at the extreme end of Baluchistan covering Mekran Coast comprising 18 running kilometers at the most. It is 42 kilometers away from Karachi. The shipbreaking yards are linked with the RCD highway at 12 kilometers of the road leads to Quetta.


The life of this Industry has been started in 1973.

  • Total Places: 132 plots/yards.
  • Area of Each Plot: 06 Acres
  • Total Covered Area: 2500 Acres
  • Total Workers: 25000
Health and Safety Status:

Since the nature of work at shipbreaking yards Gadani is different from any other work/Industry zones. The ship brought for decommissioning at site, where the occurrence of day to day accident are the order of the day. About 175 major accidents recorded since 1992 to 2010.

There are little or no available data or reports on workers health. This suggests that there is no systematic monitoring of health amongst the workers engaged in ship scrapping. It has been observed that workers are exposed to:

  • Torch cutting without protection (eye injuries)
  • Heavy Lifting (wear and tear back injuries)
  • Noise (hearing defects) 
  • Chemicals PCB i.e. polychlorinated biphenyl, polyvinyl chloride PVE, poly cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons PAH, tin-organic compounds (TBT i.e. tributyltin oil and gas.
  • Asbestos
  • Heavy metals, furnes dust, fume/gas components dioxins isocynates, sulphurs etc.
  • Unhygienic Food
  • Unhealthy environment in the residence of shipbreaking Workers
Medical Facilities

  • No Medical Facilities
  • No Hospital at Gadani
  • In the case of accident workers has to be taken to Karachi which is about 70 K.M away from Gadani
  • No Ambulance Available
Employment at Shipbreaking Industry in Pakistan

About 25,000 Workers Directly Connected With this Industry
About 65,000 Workers Indirectly Connected With this Industry

Basic and Urgent Needs

  • Education
  • Personal Protection Equipments
  • Ambulances
  • Hospital
  • Good Food & Pure Water
  • Proper Residence
  • Proper Employment
  • Good Salary
  • Proper Hazardous Waste Handling


Gadani Shipbreaking Labour Union:

This union was formed in 1981 and enjoying status of Collective Bargaining Agent for shipbreaking workers. The said union is under the control of contractors. However, the PMF motivating workers to change its leadership and genuine leadership may takeover the union

Gadani Shipbreaking Democratic Workers Union:

This union was formed in the year 2010 by associating outsider persons who was not directly engaged with the industry. The registration of the said union has been cancelled by the government and the union till today not challenged its cancellation at any Court of Law in Pakistan and thus attained status of finality in law.

Pakistan Metal Workers Federation Initiatives Despite the Obstacles:

  • Frequent Visit to the yards.
  • Frequent Meetings with Shipbreaking Workers.
  • Awareness about OSH.
  • Understand their Issues and Problems.
  • Meetings with NGOs.
  • Education Activities.
175 workers lost their lives since 1992 to 2010 in major accidents at Gadani itself. But this is not where it ENDs.

Source: Presentation by Pakistan Metal Worker Federation, September 2011

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