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Sectoral social dialogue - Inland waterways

Social partners

Workers' organisations Employers' organisations
European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) European Barge Union (EBU)
  European Skippers' Organisation (ESO)


Social dialogue in this sector covers inland waterway transport.

The activities covered are those most closely defined by the following NACE (Rev. 2) codes:

  • 50.3 - Inland passenger water transport
  • 50.4 - Inland freight water transport
  • 52.2 - Support activities for transportation

Facts & figures

EU-wide, the sector directly employs some 40 000 people, including owner-operators, part-time and temporary workers, staff engaged in passenger transport. About 65% of them work in the Rhine corridor.

Inland waterways are important role for goods transport in Europe. More than 41 500 km of waterways connect hundreds of cities and industrial regions. 20 out of the 28 EU countries have inland waterways, while 12 have interconnected waterway networks.

Inland waterways & the environment

Inland waterways provide an environment-friendly way to transport goodsd – a key aspect of sustainable mobility. They should be used more to relieve heavily congested transport corridors. Measures to boost waterway transport are an integral part of the EU NAIADES action programme.

Key areas & projects

The Committee is currently focusing on:

  • establishing uniform rules on social security legislation
  • improvements in on-board working & living conditions & access to port-side facilities
  • recognition of professional qualifications
  • standardisation & modernisation of crewing requirements
  • promoting fair competition (establishing recommendations & a social code on fair transport)
  • implementing Council Directive 2014/112//EU throughout the EU.

Activities & meetings

Check the library entries for this sectoral social dialogue committee.

Recent achievements

  • 2013 - Joint position on professional qualifications and training standards for crew members on inland waterways transport vessels
  • European agreement concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time in inland waterway transport (2012) Council Directive 2014/112/EU (11 December 2014)
  • 2009 - Joint sectoral contribution to the Commission's consultation on the future of transport
  • 2009 - Joint Declaration concerning Social Security Provisions in Inland Waterways Transport

See also: