ETF and River Cruise Industry sign binding framework agreement

6 Mar 2024

ETF, EBU and IG RiverCruise sign framework agreement to improve working conditions in river cruise industry

On March 6, during the ITB in Berlin, EBU, ETF and IG RiverCruise signed a binding framework agreement to improve the working conditions on board river cruise vessels as well as to ensure a level playing field for the sector.

The negotiations for a framework agreement started after the signing of a declaration of intent in the summer of 2019, in which parties jointly agreed to address a number of issues in the river cruise industry. After some fruitful meetings, all negotiations had to be suspended in 2020 due to COVID.

Negotiations were restarted in the fall of 2022 and have not only resulted in a binding framework agreement, but also in a common understanding of the complexity in the river cruise industry and in a good working relation between the river cruise industry on one hand and the trade unions on the other.

The goal of the framework agreement is to achieve a socially sustainable river cruise sector with a level playing field for operators; in the interests of both employers and employees in the sector. The agreement deals with the fundamental rights of workers in the European river cruise industry, social security, salaries, health and safety requirements, crewing agents’ fees, contract & travel documents, access to vessels and complaints procedures.

ETF, EBU and IG RiverCruise are proud of the achieved result.

According to Jacques Kerkhof, Chair of the ETF Inland Waterways Section, this agreement is a first important step for the improvement of the livelihoods of thousands of workers. “In particular, the ETF welcomes the reconfirmation of the applicability of social security rules, health and safety, harassment-free environment, as well as the freedom to join a trade union and access of unions to the workplace. We do hope to continue to build a fair European river cruise sector and mutual trust with our employer counterparts through the implementation of this agreement.”

“We are very pleased by the way we have worked together towards a common goal: improvement of the working conditions for employees on board of river cruise ships. After all, both the employers and the employees benefit from a socially sustainable river cruise sector.”, Theresia Hacksteiner, Secretary General of EBU, said.

Arno Reitsma, President of IG RiverCruise, added, “We are delighted that today we can open a new chapter in our cooperation, which is based on the understanding that the crew on board passenger ships is the foundation for the success of our industry.”