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Formal sector working to help the informal sector

The informal shipwrecking industry in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan truly epitomizes modern day labor exploitation as mentioned in this signal. In India we are seeing the formal dock workers teaming up with their neighboring shipbreakers in order to help them better their labor conditions.

“The Mumbai shipbreakers have formed a collaboration with their formalized counterparts, the dock workers, whose income and wages are relatively much higher than their own. In fact, the dock workers--along with outside funding from the International Labor Organization (ILO)--have helped the shipbreakers to form and sustain a union by paying their dues, says Noiseaux. ‘This is a unique example of the formal sector investing in the informal sector.’ The pilot project started in 2003 when the International Metalworkers’ Federation partnered with a local trade union, the Mumbai Port and the Dock & General Employees Union, to initially provide workers with clean drinking water, safety advice and first-aid training and equipment. The organizers also held workshops to inform workers about their rights, according to the International Metalworker’s Federation website, and helped them to form a union.”

Implications from IFTF:
A globalized world requires a globalized labor union. Although the formal dock workers partnering up with the shipbreakers is a good step forward, the next step would be for India to partner with other shipbreaking countries (Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China). And eventually to start direct negotiations with the countries the ships come from, primarily the West.

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