The European Commission proposed today (18 November) to include seafarers at sea within the scope of five European Union labour law directives.
The change would bring the rights for sailors at sea in line with the rights of those docked at port. Rights for those at port were agreed in a separate proposal earlier this year.
The commitments to both were made by EU member states when they signed the international Maritime Labour Convention in 2006.
The proposal would give sailors 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.
Some labour directives currently allow member states to exclude seafarers from their right to information and consultation. This has led to seafarers being treated differently in several countries.
The new proposal would amend the Employer Insolvency Directive, the European Works Councils Directive, the Information and Consultation Directive, the Collective Redundancies Directive and the Transfer of Undertakings Directive.
The proposal includes a transition period of 5 years to take account of the differences in member states. While some have taken advantage of the ability to exclude seafarers from working guarantees, others have not.
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“Off-shore and on-shore workers should have equal rights, in particular when it comes to such a fundamental right as information and consultation,” said László Andor, European Commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion. “This proposal would improve the living and working conditions of seafarers and so help to attract more young people to work in the maritime sector.”