ANKARA – Anatolia News Agency
A lack of space and workplace safety, overwork, unregistered employment, problems among subcontractors, and deficiencies in vocational training were the main reasons behind the deaths in shipyards, according to a report released by the Labor Ministry.
The report, titled �Shipyards and the Tuzla reality,� noted that shipyards in Turkey had worked at a very low capacity between 1982 and 2000, then growing exponentially after 2002.
Between 1982 and 2000, shipyards worked at a 15 percent capacity. The report noted that growth in production in shipyards since 2003 was 360 percent, while the work average was 89 percent.
A total of 46 of the 86 shipyards in Turkey are in Istanbul's Tuzla district and as of June this year, there are 480 subcontractors in Tuzla.
Subcontractors are used to having to find workers at short notice, but the subcontractor system is seen as one of the main impediments to unionization and an improvement in workplace safety in the region.
The report noted that there were no subcontractors before 2002.
There are 23,680 workers in Tuzla's shipyards, a huge growth compared to before 2002, when there were around 5,000 workers.
The report noted that 5,180 workers are contracted with individual shipyards, while 18,500 work directly for subcontractors. There are at least 10 engineers working at every shipyard in the area today, while before 2002, there were 10 engineers for the entire Tuzla region.
The report also noted that working with subcontractors also prevents a proper organizational structure within shipyards.
Lack of space:
When compared to other shipbuilding countries, the lack of space given to shipyards can be seen as a huge hindrance to further growth of the sector, the report noted.
The area allocated to shipyards in Tuzla is between 2,126 and 196,376 square meters, while the average in South Korea, third in terms of ship production, is 500,000 square meters.
Such an environment in Tuzla, with constantly increasing ship production, causes huge stress on the sector and hinders further growth in the industry. When one counts the huge increase in the number of workers, the lack of space is also a serious work hazard.
The lack of professional training, which the ministry sees as the employers' responsibility, is also an important reason behind the deaths in Tuzla.
The ministry report said many shipyards in the region were unlicensed, but argued that the ministry was doing everything it could to ensure rules were followed.
The report noted that some of the shipyards were shut down for a period of time because of their failure to abide by the workplace rules. Labor Minister Faruk Çelik blamed the employers for failing to ensure workplace safety and continuing to meet the standards of the rapidly expanding sector. Çelik said that recent legal changes would allow the local authorities to impose fines or order shipyards shut down if employers did not take appropriate measures to improve workplace safety according to accepted norms.