ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News
While the national agenda was occupied with critical cases like the closure case against the governing party and the Ergenekon indictment dealing with an allegedly deep state organization, one more worker died in the Tuzla shipyards at the end of last month.
İbrahim Çelik, who was working for sub-contracting firm Atlas Gemi, died July 27, just a few days after a parliamentary sub-commission report on the Tuzla shipyards that called for stricter security measures, especially in sub-contracting firms, was presented to the Parliament Speaker's Office. Among many measures regarded as necessary to provide worker safety in shipyards, the report called for the prevention of sub-contracting firms from carrying out the main jobs in shipyards and for a stronger presence of trade unions in the shipyards, especially within sub-contracting firms. The majority of victims of work-related deaths were from sub-contracting firms in Tuzla, while most trade union members belong to the main firms. The sub-contracting system is common at the Tuzla shipyards and includes the main tasks of shipbuilding and repair despite the fact that this is illegal.
The report presents a dilemma about the sub-contracting system, Cem Dinç, the head of the Port, Shipyard, Ship Construction and Repair Workers Trade Union, or Limter İş, told the Turkish Daily News. The report admits that the sub-contracting system is necessary for the sector's competing workforce, at the same time admitting that the current system is not working properly, Dinç said. The competing workforce to the sector comes from cheap labor, he added. �We want subcontracting to be eliminated totally,� Dinç said. The report also states that almost all the parties involved in the issue consent to the need for sub-contractors to increase the competing force of the Turkish sector, but Limter İş does not consent to this, Dinç highlighted.
The report also calls for a stronger trade union presence, especially within the subcontracting firms with which Limter İş works. In practice it is difficult to organize unions in sub-contracting firms, according to Dinç. A legal regulation is needed for that, he said, drawing attention to the current arrangement whereby main firms can immediately terminate their contracts with sub-contracting firms within which a trade union may have formed. �We file a suit but the main firm easily manages to escape. The sub-contracting firm is punished,� he said. They would follow proceedings to see whether the measures that the sub-commission advised would be realized or not, Dinç added.
The Dok Gemi İş trade union, which has the collective bargaining authority in shipyards, and the Shipbuilders' Association, or GİSBİR, failed to answer the TDN's questions on the report when the newspaper went to print yesterday.