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Working conditions in fisheries: key agreement signed by social partners

21/05/2012 Working conditions in fisheries: key agreement signed by social partners

Representatives of the European Union's employers and trade unions in the sea fisheries sector signed an agreement to ensure that fishermen have decent working conditions on board fishing vessels with regard to minimum requirements for conditions of service, accommodation and food, occupational safety and health protection, medical care, and social security.

This agreement implements at EU level the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on "Work in the fishing sector"(n° 188).

This agreement confirms the EU's committment to improving the working conditions of fishermen both in Europe and globally. The EU social partners intend to ask the Commission to present their Agreement to the EU's Council of Ministers in order to implement it through an EU Directive, in accordance with Article 155 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, and so make the rules legally binding in the EU and enable speedier ratification of the ILO Convention.

The agreement was signed by Javier Garat, President of Europêche and Giampaolo Buonfiglio, on behalf of Cogeca, as Chairman of the Fish Working Party of Copa-Cogeca for the employers. Eduardo Chagas, Secretary General of the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF) signed as the employees' representative. The agreement was signed at the European Maritime Day conference, which takes place on May 21-22 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Background

Globalisation has had a profound impact on the fishing sector and the rights of fishermen need to be promoted and protected. The risk of an accident causing an injury or death is 2.4 times greater in the sea fisheries sector than the average of all EU industries.The fishing industry accounts for 7% of all fatalities at work in the EU, even though, with 355,000 people working in fisheries, it accounts for less than 0.2% of the EU workforce. The fishing sector is a major source of jobs in some Member States (Greece 1.5%) and regions (e.g. Galicia, Spain 3%) or coastal communities (e.g.Killybegs, Ireland 68%).