Social dialogue is structured discussions between organisations which represent workers and employers, known as social partners. The EU supports social dialogue at European level, and the ETF Dockers Section is a recognised social partner for the ports sector.
In June 2013 the ETF, the International Dockworkers Council (IDC), the Federation of European Private Port Companies and Terminals (FEPORT) and the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) established the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Ports (SSDC for Ports) with the support of the European Commission.
Through this Committee, the social partners work jointly to improve working and living conditions for dockers, and to boost the competitiveness and productivity of the EU port sector. Since the establishment of the Committee, the social partners have worked on a wide range of priorities, ranging from occupational health and safety to defining the future of the sector in a changing shipping landscape. Training for staff and women’s presence in ports are also subjects on which the Committee is working.
In additional to the regular meetings, social partners also run joint projects co-funded by the European Commission.
ETF, IDC, FEPORT and the ESPO will reinforce social dialogue and work together to improvement of working conditions the competitiveness of EU ports.
Ports are changing. Bigger ships, shifting trade patterns and new technologies. But what does this mean for European port workers?