Ensuring Wi-Fi Rights for migrant workers on Taiwan’s Fishing Vessels

1 Feb 2024

Social Partners Advocate for Better Working Conditions for Migrant Fishers in Taiwan Vessels

In a recent initiative highlighting the global nature of the fisheries sector, European social partners have turned their focus towards Taiwan, particularly due to the significant employment of Asian migrant fishers on Taiwanese-owned vessels. These workers face distressing labour abuses, especially within Taiwan’s extensive distant water fleet, which operates far from the country’s shores.

During the latest plenary session of the social dialogue, a pivotal discussion unfolded about a campaign championed by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF). The campaign’s primary demand is for Taiwanese vessel owners to provide free Wi-Fi connections on their ships, asserting that such access is essential for the fishers’ well-being, safety, and right to organize. This is especially crucial for migrant fishers who spend months at sea, isolated from their families and support networks.

Europêche and the ETF dispatched a joint letter to the European Commission, endorsing the campaign and urging action in a significant move. The collaborative effort bore fruit on January 30, 2024, when a dedicated meeting was convened with representatives from the Taiwan Fisheries Agency, and European social partners and facilitated by the European Commission. This meeting served as a platform to discuss the campaign’s goals and review the progress in improving human and labour rights conditions for fishers in Taiwan.

The European social partners provided insights into the functioning of industrial relations within Europe and the implementation of the ILO C188 “Work in Fishing” Convention, aiming to draw parallels and encourage positive changes in Taiwan. This initiative marks a critical step towards enhancing the working conditions of fishers globally, demonstrating the power of international cooperation and dialogue in addressing labour abuses in the fisheries sector.