ETF concerned about European Commission’s proposals on port policy

24 May 2013

Yesterday, Thursday 23 May 2013, the European Commission adopted a Regulation (1) and a Communication called “Ports: an engine for growth”. The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) is satisfied with the fact that the Commission decided not to touch upon port labour organisation in the proposals adopted yesterday and that cargo-handling is excluded from market access rules. However, it is extremely concerned about the consequences that the proposals could have on the workers that the Federation represents in technical-nautical services, notably in pilotage, towage and mooring.

The ETF Dockers and Maritime Transport Sections have already started a joint debate on the future EU ports policy and are ready to join forces to make their voice and priorities heard by policy-makers.

Philippe Alfonso, ETF Political Secretary for Maritime Transport stated: “Some ETF maritime affiliates represent also workers in technical-nautical services. Our point of view is that any attempt to deregulate technical-nautical services should be strictly defined and controlled to avoid marine casualties that would pose a threat to the marine environment and put human lives at risk. Indeed, we should avoid a situation where safety at sea would be sacrificed to competition and profit with a view to serve specific interests rather than the broader public interest”.

“Even if dock labour is not included in the new regulation it is clear that liberalisation of port labour is still on the Commission’s agenda,” said the ETF Dockers’ Section Chair Terje Samuelsen. “The strategy seems to have changed,” he continued, “as we have passed from comprehensive one-size-fits-all proposals to targeted interventions at national level. Furthermore, in its Communication the Commission clearly indicates its intention to come back on the issue of port labour in 2016. European dockers remain vigilant and are ready to fight back any attempt to deregulate their professions”.

A position paper on the Commission’s proposals will be issued in the near future after an in-depth analysis of the draft Communication and Regulation.

(1) Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework on market access to port services and financial transparency of ports – COM(2013) 296 final – 2013/0157 (COD)

For further information, please contact the ETF Political Secretaries for Maritime Transport, Philippe Alfonso (Tel: +32 (0)496 65 79 15; or for Ports, Livia Spera (Tel +32 470 930589; )

For more information please contact:

European Transport Workers’ Federation
Rue du Marché aux Herbes 105, Boîte 11
B-1000 Bruxelles
Telephone: +32 (0)2 285 46 60
Fax: +32 (0)2 280 08 17