EU to include seafarers in its legislation

The EU’s Council of Employment and Social Policy Ministers reached an agreement Wednesday last week on the European Commission’s proposal to amend five EU directives with an aim at repealing the exclusions of seafarers from these directives.

The directives concerned relate to employer insolvency, European Works’ Council, Information and Consultation, Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings.

“We welcome the Council’s General Approach and commend the Italian Presidency for its excellent work, which fully takes into account the social partners’ suggestions for amendments to the original Commission proposal,” commented Pia E. Voss, European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) spokeswoman.

ECSA and European Transport Workers Federation (ETF), European social partners in the field of maritime transport, had themselves reached an agreement on the issue of the exclusions of seafarers from EU legislation in October 2014.

ECSA said that the agreement aims to close some loopholes and ensure that seafarers are treated on an equal footing with land-based workers while taking into account specific features of the maritime transport sector.

“The Council agreement can be hailed as a very positive outcome that will help guarantee the full enjoyment of seafarers’ right to information and consultation within the undertaking and their right to fair and just working conditions,” highlighted Mark Dickinson, ETF spokesman.”

“It is a step in the right direction and we look forward to the discussions in the European Parliament in the hope that they will lead to a speedy adoption of the revised rules for seafarers, which will contribute to promote employment, improved living and working conditions, proper social protection and enhanced dialogue between management and labour,” he concluded.

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