Social dialogue for safer port work in Europe

On December 9, another meeting of the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Ports (SSDC-P) was held. Negotiations continued to enhance safety at work, especially onboard of ships. After Antwerp, new fatalities occurred in Spain and Sweden, which is unacceptable, provided the level of technical progress. The two employers’ organizations ESPO and FEPORT argued that safety is not achievable, while shipowners do not assume their share of responsibility, delivering each time the necessary information from ship before mooring. Therefore, it was decided that they would be invited to a common discussion on the issue at the next meeting of SSDC-P in March. There, the participants will discuss how to fill loopholes in the law which allow port workers to be acting without clear enough protection on ships. This should lead to the adoption of uniform procedures and real prevention. It is uncertain, however, how the association of shipowners ECSA will respond to this proposal.
ETF proposed that social partners conduct research in a limited number of selected terminals to gather information on how the development of maritime transport affects port operations. This should be a fact-finding study aimed to collect best practices and researched terminals should remain anonymous. The proposal was accepted and a project application will be prepared until the spring.
Nevertheless, the social partners will work towards training in safety. Based on the outcomes of the project “PORTraits”, when presented, they will evaluate future needs of skills and professions in the sector within a general project for transport.