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European Commission Adopts Proposal to Improve Working Conditions in Fishing Sector

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European Commission Adopts Proposal to Improve Working Conditions in Fishing Sector

European Commission Adopts Proposal to Improve Working Conditions in Fishing Sector
May 04
10:04 2016

The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Directive which aims at improving the working conditions for workers in the fishing sector. Following an agreement by social partners on working conditions in the fishing sector, the European Commission is translating the agreement into a legal proposal for a Directive.

In 2013, the EU social partners in the fishing sector reached an agreement, which proposed to align EU law with the “Work in Fishing” Convention 2007 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Once adopted by the Council, this directive will implement the social partner agreement, which provides for a higher level of protection of EU fishermen.

The proposed Directive will improve the living and working conditions of fishermen. It includes minimum requirements for:

* Work on board (e.g. minimum age, medical certificate, information in the employment contract)

* Conditions of service (working time limits, right of repatriation)

* Accommodation and food

* Occupational safety and health protection, including medical treatment on board and ashore

Furthermore, the implementation of the social partner agreement in EU legislation is expected to set an example for third countries to ratify the 2007 ILO Working in Fishing Convention. This is particularly relevant in the context of the fight against illegal fishing.

The European fisheries industry is the fourth largest in the world. The fisheries industry provides jobs for over 100,000 people in the EU. It supplies some 6.4 million tonnes of fish each year. Sea fishing is a cross-border sector which operates worldwide. Accordingly, fishing vessels registered in or sailing under the flag of an EU Member State also operate outside the territorial waters of the EU Member State concerned, for instance in waters under jurisdiction of other EU Member States and in international waters.

Fishermen often live and work for days on board of the vessel in difficult circumstances with heavy equipment. The accident and injury rate in the sector is high compared to other sectors: it can be 15 times higher than average. They do not return to their homes on a daily basis, so they are dependent on their employer for medical care on board, food, potable water, and accommodation.

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