14 September 2011

IMF-EMF Global Conference on Safe, Sustainable and Green Jobs in Shipbuilding-Shipbreaking

“Creating strategic links between shipbuilding and shipbreaking”

13-14 September 2011, Istanbul, Turkey

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 3 sessions.

Conference Topics

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,


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

The exchanges between shipbuilding and shipbreaking workers strongly illustrate the need for a “life-cycle” or “cradle to grave” approach. Participants of the conference urge companies to consider the recycling of a ship already at the time of its conception and design.

There is great benefit in the cooperation and transfer of good practices between developed and developing countries, particularly in the area of occupational health and safety. The IMF will continue to expand its organizing projects in developing countries. Bilateral or multilateral cooperation projects between affiliates are strongly encouraged.

Our global trade union network should be further expanded and intensified. Issue-driven cooperation with other partners, such as NGOs, as part of a broader alliance for safe, sustainable and green jobs in shipbuilding-shipbreaking will also be important. At the same time, IMF and EMF continue to cooperate with other GUFs, international/regional organizations to make their sectoral activities more effective and stronger.

IMF and EMF demand that international regulations on OHS and environment in shipbuilding-shipbreaking be implemented rapidly, including as a minimum and a first step the Hong Kong Convention. We urge governments to secure basic worker’s rights to improve their working conditions.

IMF and EMF support schemes which promote green technologies, green products, and provide sustainable employment. Safer, greener ships that are producing less toxic waste and fewer emissions are in the interest of shipbuilding workers, maritime transport workers and shipbreaking workers alike.

IMF and EMF underline that the transition to safe, sustainable shipbuilding-shipbreaking requires investment not only in technologies but foremost in people and skills.


The joint conference of IMF and EMF demonstrated that shipbuilding-shipbreaking remains a precarious and hazardous occupation in many regions.

IMF and EMF therefore call on regulators and industry to take immediate action to ensure the basic right to life as well as decent working conditions. Compliance with ILO core labour standards, conventions and agreements is essential and non-negotiable. Trade unions are indispensible in this process as unionized workplaces are safer workplaces!

For further information please contact EMF Policy Advisors Mischa Terzyk and Andrea Husen-Bradley and IMF Director of Shipbuilding-Shipbreaking and Non-Manual Workers, Kan Matsuzaki: info@imfmetal.org

Source: European Metalworkers' Federation. 14 September 2011

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