During a project evaluation visit by an international delegation to the Mumbai shipbreaking site January 20, workers explained to union leaders how, despite repeated requests, they are faced with continual water shortages and often work in extremely hazardous conditions for 12 hours a day with nothing to drink.
Despite the Indian Factories Act 1948 clearly spelling out that drinking water should be provided to workers this is widely being ignored. The local union leadership has stated that if the situation is not resolved then the only alternative maybe to call for industrial action among the workers. The International Metalworkers' Federation has been working closely with the shipbreaking workers as part of its union building project which has seen 2,500 workers organized in Mumbai, and a further 6,500 in Alang. Read more here.
The situation of the workers' families settled around the ship breaking yards in very precarious conditions is completely disregarded by employers and local authorities. No housing facilities, drinking water, sanitation or schooling are provided for the families of the migrant workers who have followed the men of the family engaged in the ship breaking yards.
A group of over 40 women activists and unionists from self-help groups formed in residential communities near the ship breaking yards met with representatives of IMF and UK affiliate GMB on January 20, to speak about their own experiences and to jointly explore possibilities of creating women's groups among the ship breakers' families.
IMF and GMB promised to look for support for this initiative and to maintain close contact with this group of women activists and to develop a programme for the workers' families. More.