Policy priorities

Social Performance of Shipping

Shipping is the engine of the European maritime cluster, delivering quality employment at sea and ashore. European seafarers form one of the main assets of the shipping sector, given their high level of training and skills. ECSA represents the shipowners’ interests in the European Sectoral Social Dialogue with its social partner European Transport Workers’ Federation, ETF.

ECSA is since 1999 recognised European Social Dialogue partner and represents the shipowners’ interests in the dialogue with its counterpart, European Transport Workers’ Federation, ETF.

In terms of employment, the industry continues to employ around 640 000 people, with 516 000 jobs based at sea and round 40% of ship-based jobs are held by EU or EEA nationals.  With a high € 89 000 per worker productivity the sector contributes an above-average amount to Europe’s GDP for each worker employed. In total, either directly or through its supply chain, the industry employs around 2,1 million people in Europe.

Shipping is an important source of employment, both onboard ships – for ratings and officers – and ashore – in shipping company management, surveying, maritime education and training, insurance and law. Shipping-related jobs are often knowledge-intensive and of high-quality. Therefore there is a genuine EU interest not only in increasing the attractiveness of a seafaring career, including for youngsters and women, but also in securing a critical mass of experienced personnel whilst sustaining the competitive position of the European maritime industries.

There is also a need of continued investment in the skills required for the changing needs of the ships in the future, to promote careers at sea, to support those companies that engage in the training of future generations of seafarers and to improve levels of recruitment and retention.

The ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC) provides seafarers with a comprehensive guarantee of employment rights, irrespective of their nationality.  It covers more than 90% of the tonnage in the global fleet.  This “seafarers’ bill of rights” was given a major boost in the years immediately following its adoption when the European social Partners made an agreement to bring most of its provisions in the EU law, whilst other provisions – notably those relating to enforcement – have been transposed into EU law via Council directives.

The ILO Maritime Convention explained