50 years of social dialogue in European Inland Navigation sector

21 Sep 2016

Nick Bramley, ETF IWT Section Chair, addresses the European IWT Social Partners at the celebration of 50 years of European social dialogue in the sector.

Social dialogue can take on many forms, but mainly it is the joint effort of social partners as spokespersons of the European Employers and Workers, to consult, to discuss and to negotiate enhancement of both the social and the economic well-being. Its final outcomes can be very varied and encompasses tools, guidelines, agreements and even regulations each with their own specifics regarding enforceability.

The formal form of sectoral social dialogue as we know it today was launched in 1985 by President Jacques Delors at Val Duchesse. For us it constitutes a corner stone in the European social model as it can enhance competitiveness and at the time close legal loopholes that trigger unfair competition and social dumping practices.

Whereas little 10 years ago European Inland Navigation was in the hands of the main River Commissions, where the Rhine Commission with its 200 years of constitutional and governmental expertise established a huge head start. There was very little – or even next to non-EU legislation applicable in the sector.

This reality has been left behind via the successful promotional programmes that put wind in the sails of the environmental friendly transport mode of navigation. Naiades I and II changed the scenery for good. But in all these programmes the voice of the European Social Partners was always appreciated, but most and foremost heard and listened to.