Maritime unions and employers on International Women’s Day 2018 – The Time is NOW

8 Mar 2018

080318_women at sea

European shipowners and transport workers are jointly marking International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day is also a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year’s theme is ‘The Time is NOW’.

The European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF) have recently signed a Declaration to promote equal opportunities for women and men in the transport sector. They also became founding partners of the European Platform for Change, launched on 27 November 2017, bringing together organisations committed to increasing and improving female employment in transport to exchange good practices.

More still needs be done and measures taken at national level to make the shipping industry a more attractive and safer place to work for women. The European social partners are devising an action plan on the topic, including a workshop in June.

Tim Springett, ECSA spokesperson to the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Maritime Transport (SSDC), said “One of the shipping industry’s best-kept secrets is that the ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 is the most gender-sensitive International Convention outside of instruments specifically dedicated to gender equality and non-discrimination. We want to showcase the best practices being undertaken by our national associations to encourage take-up throughout the EU.”

“In a recent social dialogue meeting we heard a testimonial that bullying and harassment remain a problem in the sector. It goes often unreported, hence it requires continuing attention from the social partners, be it at European or national levels. We jointly reiterate our commitment to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying in workplaces.” Tim Springett added.

ECSA and ETF, with Commission support, have jointly produced very useful  tools  to tackle bullying and harassment in the maritime workforce – guidelines to shipping companies and a training film and workbook which can be found on the ECSA and ETF website and are disseminated by national associations. The work has been recognised by the ILO and a recent amendment to the MLC recommends the adoption of anti-harassment and bullying measures by all shipowners.

“ETF shows a strong commitment to working with our social partner towards increasing female participation in shipping. This involves in particular improving job quality, adopting active recruitment and retention policies, fostering a sound work-life balance and helping women to get the skills and experience required for the jobs of tomorrow in the context of the digital age. It is in these areas that we will move to ensure that shipping becomes more gender sensitive, ships are safer places to work and are free from harassment and provide satisfying and rewarding careers regardless of gender”, said ETF spokesperson at the SSDC, Mark Dickinson.

For further information please contact:

Bryn Watkins, ETF Communications Officer
Tel. +, email

Karoliina Rasi, ECSA Director Public Affairs & Communications
Tel. +32.2.510.61.34, email