As part of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Commission has developed a proposal for a Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive, aiming to grant all workers in Europe equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions, and social protection and inclusion.

On 21 June 2018, the European Council agreed its negotiating position on the directive on transparent and predictable working conditions. The draft directive addresses challenges brought by developments in the world of work, including  growing flexibilisation of the labour market and, in particular, the increase in the number of 'non-standard' forms of employment, such as temporary employment, part-time and on call work, zero hours contracts, on demand and multi-party employment.

However, when adopting their general approach, Member States decided to exclude these categories of workers from a number of provisions 'without any clear justification', ETF said.

With this respect, the Federation noted that seafarers and fishermen are often denied basic social rights that are granted to onshore workers: To exclude seagoing workers from rights such as information in case of unpredictable work patterns, or information on the identity of the social security institution(s) receiving the social contributions attached to the employment relationship, is to deny them to enjoy basic social rights being granted to onshore workers.

It is disgraceful to see that there are once again attempts to exclude seagoing workers from social legislation in Europe. This runs counter to the pursued objective of the initial Commission proposal, which is intended to apply to all sectors and all categories of workers. ETF demands that the Council explains the blatant contradiction between this decision and past legislation which ended exclusion of these categories of workers,

...said Philippe Alfonso, ETF Political Secretary for Maritime Transport.

It took years to reach a compromise agreement with the shipowners to include seafarers, through Directive 2015/1794, in a number of key social and employment directives – notably on information and consultation of workers. We therefore call on EU policymakers to prevent all these efforts from being undermined and to avoid excluding seafarers once again,

...said Mark Dickinson, ETF spokesperson to the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Maritime Transport.

An ETF position paper published in June provides extensive arguments explaining why seafarers and fishermen have to be treated on an equal footing with workers onshore.