How to eradicate harassment and bullying in shipping?

20 Dec 2013

December 2013

In the framework of the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Maritime Transport, the recognised European social partners – ETF and ECSA – have carried out a joint project which aims to eliminate workplace harassment and bullying in the shipping sector. This project builds on the outcomes of an earlier joint initiative conducted by the UK social partners, which developed a training package for use by EU shipping companies.  

Both ETF and ECSA felt that the need to follow up on the original British project because bullying and harassment continued to be a significant problem in the sector. Furthermore, there had been insufficient international dissemination of the outcomes of the initial project. Therefore the European social partners decided to update their training toolkit and make efforts to raise maximum awareness amongst the European shipping community on how to identify and effectively fight against bullying and harassment. Another priority was to make sure that all seafarers onboard EU-flagged vessels would be aware of the need to adopt a principle of zero tolerance towards these unwanted behaviours, thus creating a radical change of mindset in the sector. 

With the support of Videotel International, the training toolkit underwent a comprehensive update – including guidelines, a video and associated workbook. 

At European level, the European social partners decided to monitor the implementation of the project and reflect on a proper follow-up, notably on the idea of setting up a 24/7 support hotline. 

At national level, the ETF and ECSA memberships committed to share, as widely as possible, the outcomes of the project. They were also invited to reflect on ways to integrate the training material into their national training curricula for seafarers, in collaboration with national maritime training institutes, and prompt changes in their national legislation if deemed necessary.