Fair working conditions in the river cruise sector

Europe is the dynamic hub of the river cruising business. In this highly successful and growing industry, the call for larger profits is loud. For workers that can mean harder work, lower wages, longer hours, reduced medical and social provisions, overcrowded crew rooms and accommodation, and even pay discrepancies. These are all the result of cost-cutting measures stemming from the increased competition in the sector.

The river cruise sector is a money making machine, as we tell from the growth and turnover of the ships involved. Many new vessels enter the European waterways each year, large and luxurious vessels with everything to ensure the wellbeing of the passengers. These are expensive boats to produce, but every vessel is financially written off in just a couple of years – five at the most.  This is a clear indication that profit margins are enormously high. The river cruise sector can afford to treat its workers with dignity and respect.

ETF affiliates demand a Fair, Safe and Equal job for everyone working in the European river Cruise sector.  Workers deserve more and should not settle for the current situation.

The ETF’s River Cruise Working Group has organised in recent years a series of activities to achieve those objectives. We aim  to strengthen this work in coming years by:

  • Coordinating, with the assistance of the ITF, visits to cruise vessels with the objective reaching out to the workers.
  • Organising regular activities and getting them noticed in the media as much as possible.
  • Producing new and updated tools, such as a dedicated database.
  • Engaging in meaningful dialogue with both individual companies and the sectoral trade association IG River Cruise.

If you have a problem or a question please contact us at rivercruise@etf-europe.org. Do not forget to clearly indicate what vessel you are working on and what your nationality is. We will put you in contact with your local representative.

Check out our brochure and distribute it to all your river cruise colleagues – both nautical and hospitality personnel.

More about River Cruise Campaign

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Does the recent river cruise accident in Budapest point to structural problems with safety?

We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims who drowned on the Danube. There is still little clear information, but this is already the 4th accident of the year and the 2019 season is only just getting started. Although we agree that captains carry responsibility for the safety of their passengers and others on the water, we question the tendency to criminalise maritime workers after accidents

5 Jun 2019