Emden shipyard closes despite workers’ protests

Emden shipyard closes despite workers' protests
Photo: DPA
The traditional seaport city of Emden was stunned on Tuesday, as its historical Nordseewerke shipyard remained closed a day after owner ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) sold it to wind farm maker Siag Schaaf Industrie.

“With this comes the end of hundreds of years of tradition,” Wilfriend Alberts, head of union IG Metall’s Emden chapter, said.

Hundreds of people gathered at the shipyard to protest, while local farmers brought in a tractor convoy and horns to show their solidarity.

According to ThyssenKrupp, which said it planned on remaining engaged in the city, Emden will become an innovative location for offshore wind farms. The company plans to retain 375 of the shipyard’s 1,196 employees, while Siag will take on 721 and another 100 are expected to leave voluntarily or retire.

But IG Metall said it feared closing the shipyard would have grave results for subcontractors in the area.

The end of shipbuilding in the city is a “massive disappointment,” city spokesperson Eduard Dinkela said. “A tradition is being lost.”

ThyssenKrupp announced plans to close the shipyard on September 9 and defied the resistance of both employees and the state government, IG Metall spokesperson Jutta Blankau said, calling it a “heavy blow to shipbuilding in northern Germany.”

Last week some 2,000 people demonstrated against the closure.

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