From 16 to 18 September 2015, the 8th ETF Inland Waterway Transport (IWT) seminar took place in Prague, Czech Republic. Participants from various Member States discussed how to organise fair IWT in Europe.
The sector faces many challenges especially in the area of social security. Currently two systems are in place side-by-side, one for the Rhine area and one for the non-Rhine area. The participants to the seminar expressed the need for only one social security system on board of a vessel, regardless the nationalities of the various crewmembers. They asked for clear and transparent criteria and a full ahead preference for the Rhine Treaty fundamentals.
In order to further develop this environmental friendly transport mode, fair social conditions have to be in place in order to enhance labour mobility and to attract new and young workers to the sector. ETF affiliates opt for technology to create a fair sector. A smart tachograph and an individual crewmembers’ smart card can create an accessible and controllable social environment. Harmonisation, e.g. of professional profiles & competencies, is also a key-tool to create a fair IWT sector in Europe! And the establishment of a Fair Transport Mark, which identifies the social quality of the company concerned, had also been proposed by the seminar participants as a way of improving fairness in the sector.
Creating legislation is one thing – correct implementation and enforcement is crucial for its success. ETF affiliates demand more and better enforcement and controlling tools, even sanctions in case of non-compliance.
Finally the participants emphasised the importance of good infrastructure for the sector. IWT should remain within the European Commission’s focus when it comes to financing tools for infrastructure.
ETF IWT section organises each year a seminar for its members to discuss issues high on the Section’s political agenda. More information can be found on the ETF website.