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A proposal to include seafarers within the scope of five EU labour law Directives has been presented by the European Commission.
The proposal would give them the same information and consultation rights in all 28 EU countries as on-shore workers in cases of collective redundancies and transfers of undertakings. They would also have the right to participate to European Works Councils.
The proposal will now go to EU’s Council of Ministers and the European Parliament for approval.
Although EU labour law generally applies to all workers in all sectors, until now certain labour Directives allowed Member States to exclude seafarers from their right to information and consultation. This has led to seafarers being treated differently in several EU Member States.
The new proposal would amend five Directives in order to give seafarers the same rights as their colleagues on-shore. This would enhance their living and working conditions and so increase the attractiveness of working in the maritime sector for young people. This is important as the number of EU seafarers has been steadily decreasing over the last few years and the sector is threatened with labour shortages.
A third important benefit of the proposal is that it would ensure fairer competition in the fisheries and shipping sectors within the EU as operators would have the same obligations in all EU Member States.