EU to Cover Seafarers with Some Labor Laws

European maritime transport representatives have welcomed a recent agreement on the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive on seafarers’ exclusions, as well as the confirmation of a compromise text for a new directive to increase protection of seafarers’ labor rights by the Council’s Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper).

The Commission’s directive, as amended by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, will make some key EU Directives applicable to merchant shipping in all EU Member States, notably the Directives on information and consultation of employees in the EU, on the establishment of European Works’ Councils for the purposes of informing and consulting employees, on collective redundancies and on the safeguarding of employees’ rights in the event of a transfer of undertakings.

The agreement now needs to be formally endorsed by the European Parliament’s Employment Committee and thereafter in its Plenary session, and later on by the Council of Ministers.

EP Rapporteur Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (EPP, France) said: ”The new directive will respect a clear balance between the inherent special features of this professional sector and the high importance to ensure equal treatment for seafarers. This was our common objective and I believe we have managed to reach it very quickly.”

In a reaction, both ECSA (European Community Shipowners’ Associations) and ETF (European Transport Workers’ Federation) – the EU recognised social partners for maritime transport – expressed their satisfaction with the agreement and appreciation for the work done by the European Parliament and the Council.

Mark Dickinson, spokesman of the ETF, said: ”The adoption of the agreement in trialogue marks a very positive outcome that will ensure that the exclusion of seafarers from some key employment and social rights is removed and seafarers can enjoy their right to protection, information and consultation and their right to fair and just working conditions.”