Sunday, December 14, 2008

Working to Death in Turkey's Shipyards

The shipyards in Istanbul's Tuzla region have been booming over the last few years, turning Turkey into one of the world's leading shipbuilders. This has come at a cost, though, with injuries and deaths in the shipyards also on the rise. One of the main reasons for this is the increasing use of subcontractors to do most of the work in Tuzla, often times in violation of Turkish law. The use of subcontractors -- many of them poorly trained and paid -- gives Turkey its competitive edge, but advocates for the workers say its a system bound to produce more fatalities and injuries. You can read more about Tuzla's shipyards in this Eurasianet article.

UPDATE -- Jody Sabral, a colleague in Istanbul, has produced a short documentary about the working conditions in Tuzla for an Al Jazeera (English) program called "People & Power." You can watch the show here.

(Subcontracters in Tuzla's shipyards protesting during a one-day strike this past June. Many of the shipyards have been resisting the workers' efforts to unionize. Photo by Yigal Schleifer.)

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