Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Sectoral social dialogue - Shipbuilding

Sectors of activity :

Social partners

Workers' organisations Employers' organisations
industriAll European Trade Union

European Shipyards & Maritime Equipment Association (SEA Europe)

Social dialogue in this sector covers:

•            shipbuilding

•            ship repair, maintenance and conversion

•            manufacture of maritime equipment.


The sector covers the following activities, defined by NACE (Rev. 2):

25.99 – Manufacture of other fabricated metal products

26.51 – Manufacture of instruments & appliances for measuring, testing & navigation

27.40 – Manufacture of electric lighting equipment

28.11 – Manufacture of engines & turbines, except aircraft, vehicle & cycle engines

30.11 – Building of ships & floating structures

30.12 – Building of pleasure & sporting boats

33.15 – Repair & maintenance of ships & boats

The European shipyards and maritime equipment suppliers – known as the “European Maritime Technology” industry employ 1 million people, working at around 300 shipyards and 22 000 supplying companies which generate an annual production value of € 112.5 billion.

Europe is global leader in the building of complex ship types and the production of sophisticated maritime equipment, used both for civil and naval purposes. This leadership is the result of continuous investments in R&I and in developing a very highly skilled workforce.

Maritime technology is a strategic sector for Europe. It is critical for its defence and security, it is vital to develop the full potential of the blue economy and it is essential in achieving the targets set by the European Green Deal: eliminating harmful environmental emissions and pollution (water, waste and noise). In this regard, the sector is committed to deliver zero-emission short sea ships and inland vessels by 2030 and to decrease emissions during navigation by 50% for other ship types; and to deliver zero-emission ships operating deep-sea trades by 2050.

Maritime technology is also a cornerstone of the industrial infrastructure in maritime regions. A large majority of them consider “maritime” as a key priority under their Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3), which guides investments related to regional policy. The majority of these regions identify “marine renewable energies, shipbuilding, advanced materials and manufacturing processes” as a key priority.

As part of a highly globalised sector with a very specific regulatory environment and no global level-playing field the maritime technology industry  is facing fierce and unfair global competition. Under this circumstances the sector cannot feel safe or be complacent and is increasing its efforts to maintain its competitiveness and leadership in high tech markets and to ensure key maritime technology capabilities and workforce are kept in Europe.

Key areas & projects

The Committee is currently focusing on:

  • strengthening the industrial base
  • following market, employment & policy developments 
  • renewing EU's LeaderSHIP 2020 flagship policy strategy, in a new sectoral strategy (LeaderSHIP 2030)
  • identification of new skills needs to ensure long-term prosperity (e.g. project to set up a European jobs & skills council for the maritime technology sector)
  • the sector's image & its attractiveness to young people
  • discussing social standards

Activities & meetings

Check the library entries for this sectoral social dialogue committee.

Achievements/Joint texts

Check the social dialogue texts database


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