ETF submits a case concerning social security of Belgian seafarers to the attention of the ELA

19 Oct 2020

On 16 October, the European Labour Authority (ELA) celebrated a one-year anniversary of its establishment. To mark the occasion, the European trade union movement called on the ELA to urgently become fully operational in order to win the trust workers and citizens placed in it. The trade unions equally called for a follow-up on existing abuse cases and submitted additional ones. ETF contributed a case concerning the responsibility of flag states Cyprus and Madeira for social security of seafarers.

The case submitted to the attention of the ELA deals with the responsibilities of flag states for social security of seafarers. Several seafarers residing in Belgium and employed under Cyprus or Madeira flagged vessels have reported to the Belgian trade union organisation BTB ABVV that they cannot benefit from the protection of the social security regime of the flag state in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security. Their right to social security is challenged both in the flag state and their country of residence, resulting in these seafarers being deprived of the benefit of social insurance. Assistance from the ELA is needed in terms of both enforcement of Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems to maritime transport and effective administrative cooperation.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has, once again, highlighted the need for all flag states to take full responsibility – including for social security – of the crews. The ELA is in a unique position to address social dumping in the EU. We expect the Authority to follow-up on the cases submitted by social partners and live up to its mandate,” said Estelle Brentnall, ETF Head of Maritime.

European trade unions are united in their support of the ELA’s objective to improve the enforcement of workers’ rights and employers’ obligations in the EU:

“ELA must involve social partners appropriately and use all the tools at its disposal to really ensure that labour mobility is not only free but also fair and safe,” underlines Livia Spera, ETF General Secretary.

The joint European trade union letter to ELA Interim Executive Director Jordi Curell and European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicholas Schmit is available here.