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Sectoral social dialogue - Inland waterways

Social partners

Employees' organisations Employers' organisations
European Transport Workers' Federation European Barge Union
  European Skippers' Organisation

Social dialogue in this sector covers:

  • inland waterway transport.

In the EU, inland waterway transport directly employs some 42,500 people, including owner-operators, part-time and temporary workers and staff occupied in passenger transport. About 65% of this population is active in the Rhine corridor.

Inland waterway transport plays an important role for the transport of goods in Europe. More than 37,000 km of waterways connect hundreds of cities and industrial regions. Some 20 out of 27 EU countries have inland waterways, and 12 have interconnected waterway networks.

Carriage of goods by inland waterways is environmentally friendly, and can make a significant contribution to sustainable mobility in Europe. Its great potential must be better used to relieve heavily congested transport corridors. The EU NAIADES action programme includes many measures to boost transportation on inland waterways.

Focus areas

The Committee is currently focus on:

  • implementation of the sectoral working time agreement
  • job profiles
  • harmonisation of manning requirements
  • uniform social security legislation
  • promotion of inland waterway transport jobs
  • improvements of on-board working and living conditions and access to port-side facilities
  • fair competition.

Activities and meetings

Check the library entries for this sectoral social dialogue committee.


  • European agreement concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time in inland waterway transport (2012)
  • Joint sectoral contribution to the Commission's consultation on the future of transport (2009)
  • Joint Declaration concerning Social Security Provisions in Inland Waterways Transport (2009)

See also "European sectoral social dialogue – recent developments" (2010 brochure).


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