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ITF statement on complaint filed with European Commission by shortsea and feeder ship operators

11 Jun 2020
Press Release

Via the press the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) [and its affiliates] has heard about a complaint filed with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition by shortsea and feeder ship operators.
The complaint relates to the Non-Seafarers’ Work Clause (NSWC) in the IBF Collective Bargaining Agreement. This clause protects seafarers from being obliged to perform dangerous cargo handling services.
The agreement was voluntarily negotiated and agreed upon between the ITF, representing seafarers, and Joint Negotiating Group (JNG), representing shipowners. This clause was negotiated in good faith and the ITF has an expectation that those who employ seafarers will adhere to this clause in the same way in which they are expected to adhere to the rest of the agreement.
The NSWC aims to improve the safety of seafarers working on vessels by aiding in adherence to appropriate work and rest hours, reducing fatigue and by having this dangerous task completed by workers who are specifically trained for the task.    
The Non-Seafarers’ Work Clause does not violate EU competition law.
The ITF, FNV Havens, Nautilus NL and ver.di have recently filed legal proceedings to enforce the clause. The complaint appears to be a tactical reaction to these legal proceedings and seeks to avoid compliance with the NSWC.
The petitioners of the complaint have so far refused to share the complaint with the ITF. Therefore, the ITF cannot comment in more detail.

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