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ETF demands equal social security protections for seafarers

7 May 2021

The European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) has called on governments to ensure seafarers receive the same social security protection as workers on shore.

European seafarers are excluded from the Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions, a part of the European Pillar of Social Rights. Their inclusion would have a significant positive impact, such as granting them the right to be informed about their social security coverage, according to the ETF.

Some EU member states fail to provide comprehensive social security protection to seafarers that would be at least equivalent to those offered to shore-based workers. The ETF says the mobile nature of seafarers' work makes it possible for them to 'fall between the cracks' and more protection is needed.

The ETF added that the exclusion of seafarers in a current discussion at the EU level on the proposed Directive on minimum wages could further worsen their already precarious situation and undermine the different minimum wage systems currently applied to seafarers in some member states. The proposal aims to improve minimum wage coverage for workers, standard of living and improving living and working conditions.

In a statement on the matter, the ETF also highlighted a study from Oslo University showing that EU shipping is treated differently from other economic sectors in Europe without any legal or moral justification. The study concludes: 'There are no legal obstacles to the introduction of a system that ensures fair working conditions within the European Maritime Space… The differences that do exist seem rather to be the result of (a lack of) political will.'


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