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Bullying & harassment: the journey is not yet over

Far from being specific to the shipping sector, bullying and harassment are phenomena, the consequences of which can be exacerbated due to the very nature of the seafaring profession. Indeed, shipping is one of the very few sectors where the workplace coincides and overlaps with the private sphere.

To eradicate bullying and harassment and, in parallel, to increase the attractiveness of maritime careers, the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) have been working together on an EU-funded project to produce an training toolkit, which, through widespread dissemination to shipping companies and other relevant actors, aims at reducing and eventually eliminating such occurences by targeting the root causes of the problem.

Patrick Verhoeven, ECSA Secretary General commented: “Shipping companies have the duty to raise awareness among crew members on the disastrous consequences of harassment and bullying practices, especially in confined workplaces such as ships.” Mr Verhoeven added: “I am confident that the training material we have produced together with our social partner ETF, will give shipping companies the opportunity to show their commitment in achieving a harassment and bullying-free environment. The journey is far from over. We are going to continue working on this sensitive issue together with ETF in the context of the sectoral social dialogue committee but also with the ECSA membership.”

The training toolkit was presented today during the final conference of the joint ECSA-ETF project. The toolkit builds on the outcome of an earlier joint initiative which developed a package for EU shipping companies to train onboard personnel on how to deal with instances of bullying and harassment.

It consists of a training manual, guidelines for the attention of shipping companies and a video clip, which raises awareness of the various types of bullying and harassment and advocates mutual respect through best practice examples.

The training material is also available here.