In the past year, maritime logistics chains have been disrupted in numerous ways as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The ports industry in Europe has consequently been dealing with continuous uncertainty, dealing a blow to port operators and workers alike.
Throughout this crisis, European social partners in ports were expecting to receive support from the European Commission as part of the social dialogue process. They believe that the Commission should have created a space for real debate and ensure follow-up to concrete action points identified by the group. Unfortunately, the reality has turned out to be far from ideal.
The Commission failed to address the questions of global competition, safety onboard ships, automation and digitalisation and the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis in a meaningful way, leaving social partners to deal with the unpredictability of the current situation on their own. Even after they alerted the Commission to the numerous issues with social dialogue in ports several months ago, nothing changed.
Since then, the global situation has not improved, and employers, as well as workers, continue to suffer the consequences.
European social partners in ports are urging the European Commission to assume responsibility and commit to active dialogue and follow-up on ongoing developments where necessary. The effects of the COVID-19 crisis on ports, along with the recent evolutions in the maritime sector, are immense and policymakers and public authorities must be receptive and pay careful attention to the impacts of the crisis on industries and people.
Until meaningful social dialogue resumes, social partners will remain faithful to their commitment and continue to work together bilaterally on key issues such as safety onboard ships.
Social partners have reiterated their call for dialogue in a letter to the European Commission, available here.