(18 November 2013) – 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 Member States as on-shore workers in cases of collective redundancies and transfers of undertakings. They would also have the right to participate in European Works Councils. The proposal will now go to EU’s Council of Ministers and the European Parliament for approval.
Around 90% of world trade is carried out by the international shipping industry. There are over 50,000 merchant ships trading internationally, transporting every kind of cargo. About 30% of those merchant ships are registered in an EU Member State. About 345,455 EU seafarers work on ships worldwide and about 157,561 EU fishermen work within the fishing sector.
The new proposal would amend the Employer Insolvency Directive, European Works Councils Directive, Information and Consultation Directive, Collective Redundancies Directive, Transfer of Undertakings Directive. In particular, it would give a right to information and consultation to seagoing workers in all EU Member States while taking into account the characteristics of the maritime sector.
Share fishermen, who were previous excluded, would now be protected in case of insolvency of their employer. In case the insolvent employer was unable to pay their wages, they could apply to the national Insolvency Fund.