European Social Partners adopt a social clause to be inserted in the Sustainable Fisheries Agreements (SFAs) with third countries

9 Apr 2014

At one of their recent meetings the workers’ organisation ETF  and the employers’ representatives of Europêche and Cogeca have formally adopted a revised social clause to be included in SFAs with third countries, which refers to labour and standards of social protection and aims at ensuring decent working conditions for non-EU fishermen working on-board vessels operating through the SFAs.

Through the enforcement of the principles contained in the clause, EU social partners want to ensure that principles like the right to collective bargaining, the application of decent working and living conditions, and freedom of association are enforced on EU vessels.

The existing fishing agreements already include a social clause which was negotiated by the social partners in  2001. “By revising the text of the clause, social partners want to make it more precise and workable and to link it to the available international instruments, notably to the ILO work in fishing Convention 188, on which ETF, Europêche and COGECA have recently concluded an agreement that should become EU law’, said Michel Claes, Chair of the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Sea Fisheries (SSDCSF).

We are asking the Commission to first make a legal assessment of the text that we have negotiated and then to include the new clause where possible on basis of the Union’s competences in the SFAs to be signed in the future. For most of the provisions included in the clause, it will be up to the Member States, in their capacity of flag states, to ensure that existing laws and standards are properly applied on-board of the vessels operating through the SFAs” added Ment van der Zwan, vice-Chair of the SSDCSF.

For further information, please contact:
Livia SPERA, ETF Political Secretary (+ or
Javier GARAT, President of Europêche (+ or