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Sectoral social dialogue - Shipbuilding

Social partners

Workers' organisations Employers' organisations
industriAll European Trade Union

European Ships & Maritime Equipment Association (SEA Europe)

Social dialogue in this sector covers:

  • shipbuilding
  • ship repair
  • manufacture of maritime equipment.

The sector covers the following activities, defined by NACE (Rev. 2):

25.99 – Manufacture of other fabricated metal products

26.51 – Manufacture of instruments & appliances for measuring, testing & navigation

27.40 – Manufacture of electric lighting equipment

28.11 – Manufacture of engines & turbines, except aircraft, vehicle & cycle engines

30.11 – Building of ships & floating structures

30.12 – Building of pleasure & sporting boats

33.15 – Repair & maintenance of ships & boats

The European maritime technology industry employs some 500 000 people (directly and indirectly), working at around 300 shipyards and 22 000 supplying companies.  

Shipyards can be a cornerstone of the industrial infrastructure in maritime regions. Military shipbuilding is also important for national security interests.

Over the last decade, the industry has changed considerably. European companies have moved towards building the most innovative and advanced technologies and high-value vessels.

Globalisation has led to large-scale restructuring, while competition from Korea, China and elsewhere has resulted in the loss of up to 70% of jobs in EU shipyards since 1975. European ship-building still accounts for about 20% of global production and is a global leader in high-value-added niche markets, such as cruise ships and specialised vessels. Moreover, European equipment suppliers hold almost 50% of the market share.

Key areas & projects

The Committee is currently focusing on:

  • strengthening the industrial base
  • following market, employment & policy developments in shipbuilding
  • defining & promoting the results of the EU's LeaderSHIP 2020 flagship policy strategy
  • better identification & comparability of new skills to ensure long-term prosperity (e.g. project to set up a European jobs & skills council for the maritime technology sector)
  • education & standardisation/recognition of certificates
  • the sector's image & its attractiveness to young people
  • discussing social standards

Activities & meetings

Check the library entries for this sectoral social dialogue committee.

Recent achievements

  • 2015 - Joint position on the implementation of LeaderSHIP2020 & joint letter to the policymakers to request their support
  • 2013 - 2015 - EU-funded project to set up a European Skills Council for the maritime technology sector
  • 2013 - Joint statement on social standards in the European shipbuilding & ship maintenance, repair & conversion sector (2013)
  • 2010 - Review of the framework on state aid to shipbuilding

See also