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in the same boat shipbuilding and ship repair workers a global labour history 1950 2010

In the Same Boat?Shipbuilding and ship repair workers: a global labour history (1950-2010)

MainAimsofthe Project

in the same boat shipbuilding and ship repair workers a global labour history 1950 20101
In the Same Boat?Shipbuilding and ship repair workers: a global labour history (1950-2010)
  • Institute: IISG
  • Collaboration: Centre for AreaStudies, Uni. Leipzig Germany
  • Project coordination:
  • Raquel Varela
  • Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk
  • Marcel van der Linden

Methodology: Collective Research Model

  • AsliOdman
  • Cintia Russo
  • Claudiana Guedes de Jesus
  • DavideTabor
  • Elina Pessanha
  • Elise van NederveenMeerkerk
  • Eric Kocher-Marboeuf
  • GerbrandMoeyes
  • Giulia Stripoli
  • Hans-JakobÅgotnes
  • Hugh Murphy
  • James Phillips
  • Jan Heiret
  • Johanna Wolf
  • Joke Korteweg
  • JonasLjungberg
  • Jorge Fontes
  • José GomézAlén
  • Juliana Frassa
  • Jun Kim
  • Kari Teras
  • Lisa Milner
  • Luciano Vilani
  • Luísa Barbosa Pereira
  • MatthiasMiddell
  • MaudBracker
  • Marcelvan der Linden
  • Nicola Mocci
  • Paula Nabuco
  • Raquel Varela
  • Robin D. Muhammad
  • Ruben Vega
  • Sarah GraberMajchrzak
  • S.M. Fahimuddin Pasha
  • Takeshi Haragucho
  • TapioBergholm
  • Tobias Karlsson
  • ValterZanin
  • Wonchul Shin

Global Labour History

  • Non eurocentric history of labour
  • Avoid methodologic nationalism
  • A new and much broader concept of working class

Global Labour History Previous Projects at the IISG

  • A Global History of Textile Workers, 1650-2000
  • Dock workers

The project intends:

  • to study shipbuilding labour around the world from World War II until the present from a global history perspective.

Research sources

  • Local, regional and national records of shipyard employers and shipyard unions
  • Business records of individual firms
  • Government records pertaining to the industry, local and national press and other media
  • Interviews
  • Results of various surveys

Why Shipbuilding Labour?

  • Among the many reasons for studying shipbuilding labour
  • Is the importance of this industry to transportation/world trade/steel industry
  • Its productive character
  • It is a globalized industry (division of labour, impact in communities)
  • Highly concentrate workforce, important role of unions
  • Workforce generally was split up into task-specific trades
  • State support of shipbuilding and ship repairing industry
  • Its relationship with military industry
  • Argentine - Astillero Río Santiago in La Plata/Tandanor (2)
  • Australia - ????????
  • Brazil -Estaleiro MAUÁ S.A. in Niteroi, Shipyard EISA (ESTALEIRO ILHA S. A.), Rio Nave, Sermetal (4)
  • China - Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Group (1)
  • Finland - STX Finland Cruise Oy, the Turku Shipyard/HietalahtishipyardinHelsinki
  • Germany - AG WESER in Bremen/HOWALDTS-DEUTSCHE Werft GmbH in Hamburg/VULCAN AG in Bremen (3)
  • Great Britain - Clydeside (Scotland) (1)
  • India - BharatiShipyardLimitedinMumbai (1)
  • Italy - Cantiere Navale di Sestri Ponente in Genova, Fincatieri (2)
  • Japan - Namura (1)
  • Norway -Bergens Mekaniske Verksteder (BMV)
  • The Netherlands - IHC Merwede (1)
  • Poland - Shipyard Gdansk Poland (1)
  • Portugal - Lisnave in Lisboa/Setenavein Setúbal (2)
  • Thailand - Unithai/ Marsunltd/ Asian marine service/ Italthai (4)
  • Turkey - DESAN Shipyard inTuzla, Istanbul (1)
  • USA- Kaiser, San Francisco Bay Area (1)
  • South Korea - Youngdo Shipyard of HHIC (Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction)/Hyundai Shipbuilding Company (2)
  • Spain -Bazán Ferrol in Galicia/Naval Gijón in Asturias (2)
  • Sweden -Kockumsmekaniskaverkstad (1)
  • France – Saint NazaireChantiersAtlantique/STX Europe

Research questionStage 1 (to send 1st April 2013 Amsterdam):

Howdidlabourrelationsdevelop in theshipyard?

1. Work processes and labour conditions

2. Labour relations

3. Cooperation and resistance


1. Production1) What was the role of the shipyard in the national economy?2) What was the role of the shipyard in national shipbuilding economy?2) Which type of shipbuilding labour (construction or repair) was prevalent?3) Which kind of ships were/are built in the shipyard/s and what changes in production occurred?4) What technological developments took place in shipbuilding? How did this influence production and labour relations?5) What was the size of the shipyard/s, what percentage and numbers were involved in production? 6) What changes occurred in the nature and extent of production and workforce? How can these changes be explained?7) What was the role of the State in the shipyard/s? Were they state or privately owned? If private, did the firm get any kind of subsides?


2. The Workers1) How were/are shipbuilding workers recruited? 2) Why they became shipworkers?2) What was the work process and which were the main changes in the work process?3) What was/is their social background? What changes took place and how can they be explained?4) What was the specific age and gender composition of the workforce?5) What were/are the labour conditions of the workers? (hours, payment, etc)5a) What was the legal frame work of industrial relations in shipyard?4) What were/are the living circumstances of the workers?5) What are the influences of these workers on the social environment they live in?6) What forms of labour protest occurred? How they were organized and who took part?6b) What were/are the labour strategies of resistance to privatization?6c) What were/are labour strategies of resistance to the relocation?6d) What was/is the role of the unions, workers committees, workers commissions, organizations, in labour struggles?7) What were the practices of formal and informal co-operation with employer/management8) To what extent did a specific work culture develop? 9) To what extent was /is there international solidarity between shipyard workers?


3. Production Relations1) How was shipbuilding production organized? What were/is the position of the owners/management and workers?2) What changes occurred in the organization of the production, and how can they be explained?3) How did specialization and managerial policy relate to strategies to handle crises in the industry? 4) What role did trade unions, employer's organizations (both national and international) and other forms of labour organization play?5) What was/is the influence of the State/regime in labour relations and labour struggles?


Keyshipbuilingproductionfactors, 2007

StudyonCompetitivenessoftheEuropeanShipbuildingindustry, ECORYS, 2009

labour productivity 2009
Labourproductivity, 2009

StudyonCompetitivenessoftheEuropeanShipbuildingindustry, ECORYS, 2009

workers struggles
Workers’ struggles

Strike in Lisnave, Portugal, 1982

naval gijon 1975 2000 spain
Naval Gijon (1975-2000)Spain
  • By 1975 they ensure that all subcontractors’ workers become part of the permanent staff of the shipyard.
  • In 1976 they hold a three-month strike to demand the reinstatement of all their co-workers that were sacked during the dictatorship for labour or political motives.
  • In 1980 they held for two months in a strike in solidarity with other workers threatened with closure.
  • Between 1983 and 1985 and in later years, they adopt radical forms of struggle (tire barricades, clashes with police, traffic cuts) combined with peaceful demonstrations and propaganda campaigns that reach the entire town. At that time, their protests have a fixed schedule: every Tuesday and Thursday, for years.
  • In 2000, they face the redundancy of young temporary workers hired in previous years with a one month strike.
gd nsk 1980 poland
Gdánsk (1980)Poland

Jorma Puusa for Lehtikuva, 25th August 1980, In

rio santiago 1991 1993 argentina
Rio Santiago (1991-1993)Argentina
  • Threaten by privatization the workers of Rio Santiago Astillero started a serious of struggles – shipyard occupation, strike, demonstration, roadblocks, occupation of public building – between 1991 and 1993.
  • The demand were the nationalization of the shipyard, to be recognise as interlocutors do government, payments of wage arrears, and keeping the production.
  • Crucial for the struggle was to be able to make alliances with local people, workers from other companies, and public workers and alliances with middle management workers.
  • Strong connection between economic and political demands: defence os nationalist and developmentist ideas, strongly influence by peronistsbackground («the company has to be public»)
  • The struggles were organize in a democratic and decentralized structure.
  • Shipyard with a strong militant tradition during the military dictatorship (1976-1983)
hyundai heavy industry 1988 128 days strike south korea
Hyundai Heavy Industry (1988) "128 days' strike” South Korea
  • The HHI union announced strike on Dec. 15, 1988 right after the failure of the negotiation over a new collective agreement.
  • The level of conflict heightened because of a "white terror" to the union readers happened on Jan. 8, 1989.
  • After that incident, the strike became a national political issue and many unions joined solidarity struggles.
  • After several failed mediation effort, government put 10 thousands of riot police into the shipyard, and dispersed striking union members on May 30, 1989.
  • However, the union members continued their struggle based on the working class community.
  • The strike ended on April 11, 1989, after a 128 days long stoppage.
  • After the strike HHI announced their economic loss amounted 560 million USDs.
  • 1068 person were injured, hundreds of union members were arrested.
naval gijon 2001 spain
Naval Gijon (2001)Spain

Naval Gijón, Asturias, Spain, 2001. Photo from Javi Garcia

tuzla shipyard 2008 turkey
TuzlaShipyard (2008) Turkey

 Organized rally by the trade union Limter: 'for the right to living and decent working conditions' at Turkish shipyards. The two persons in front of the moving mass of workers are the parents of Ekrem, a worker who had been electrocuted in an industrial accident.PhotoLimter-iş

hanjin heavy industry 2011 south korea
Hanjin Heavy Industry (2011) (South Korea)

Police block demonstrators marching towards the shipyard of Hanjin Heavy Industries in Busan on July 10, 2011.Source: