|Employees' organisations||Employers' organisations|
|European Transport Workers' Federation||European Community Shipowners' Associations|
The social dialogue committee was established in1999.
Visit the library of work programmes, agendas, minutes and other documentation from the sectoral social dialogue committee.
European shipping controls more than 40 % of the world fleet and has the most important maritime clusters in the world. Shipping transports over 90 per cent of European external trade and more than 41 per cent of intra EU transport is sea borne.
EU regulation has opened up national markets to competition. The high level of globalisation and the use of "flags of convenience", of countries which are far more attractive to ship-owners than Europe in terms of taxation, social legislation and safety or environmental standards, present serious challenges for the sector. The number of EU seafarers employed on EU-flagged ships fell by 37% in the space of ten years (1985-1995) and only 13% of the world's shipping now sails under a Member State flag, compared with 32% in 1970.
To meet these challenges, the EU has acted to devise a global strategy to make the EU fleet competitive again, by means of "positive measures"; and to improve on-board safety and environmental protection through strict enforcement of international standards within the EU, to ensure a level playing field for those carrying goods by sea between EU ports.
In September 1998, the social partners concluded an agreement on the organisation of the working time of seafarers. The agreement specifies the normal working hours of seafarers in principle at eight hours a day with one day of rest per week and rest on public holidays. The sectoral agreement has been implemented through a Council Directive.
set of guidelines entitled "equal opportunity and diversity in the European shipping industry: Eliminating workplace harassment and bullying" was adopted in 2004. The guidelines aim to help shipping companies eliminate harassment and bullying on board ships and implement effective company policies on equal opportunities. The guidelines have been published in the form of a brochure and are accompanied by training tools.
A recurrent theme of the work programmes of the social dialogue committee is the development and implementation of measures to ensure good working conditions and a level playing field for carriers between EU ports, notably through relevant ILO instruments.
On 9 November 2007 the Social Partners reached after negotiations over one year a joint agreement on Maritime Labour standards. This agreement aims to incorporate certain provisions of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006 into Community law. The Social Partners now requested the Commission to start working on a proposal for a Council decision through which the provisions contained in their agreement should be effectively implemented at Community level. This implementation into Community law would create binding standards and would strengthen the ILO standards at international, European and local level. Consequently, sub-standard working conditions and social dumping would be reduced and more and better jobs would be created in the maritime sector.