18 February 2020

The second day of the European Shipping week was filled with contributions by the European social partners for maritime transport – the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA). The two organisations are collaborating through different perspectives (i.e. social partners of the Social Dialogue for Maritime Transport, undertaking joint EU co-funded projects) and are united in striving for a bright future of the industry. Today, they progressed their joint EU co-funded projects – the two major themes were enhancing the participation of women in the industry, and how do we maximise the transformation in shipping to future proof skills and improve on-board working environment?” These area are covered by the ongoing Skillsea project and the soon to commence WESS Project (contributing to an Attractive, Smart and Sustainable Working Environment in the Shipping Sector).

Women in shipping – strong action required for equality
The two organisations have a strong track record on working together to enhance the participation of women in European shipping. They pledged to work on the subject in 2018, and their determination to increase the extremely low numbers of women seafarers persists to this day. Today’s presentations introduced a new joint project that will spearhead the implementation of their joint declaration.

Lotte Ockerman, ETF Policy Officer for Maritime Transport, emphasised the need to give special attention to this topic: “Efforts to recruit and retain more women in the industry need to go hand in hand with improving working conditions overall. There is no single solution and attention needs to be given to different aspects such as cultural and behavioural change, working time, company policies, and onboard facilities.”

Skills for a changing maritime labour market
Digitalisation and automation are among the key processes transforming the skill sets required from seafarers. Social partners are working on exploring and influencing future changes, including the ways technological change can improve jobs in the sector, making them safer and more appealing. SkillSea is a joint social partner project aimed at ensuring that maritime professionals in Europe possess key skills for the changing industry. Intermediary project results were presented today, demonstrating that maritime professionals have urgent needs in terms of digital, green, and soft skills, which will form the basis for educational packages being developed by the project.

Martin Dorsman, Secretary General, ECSA, confirmed the commitment to future research on skills: “Today’s discussions confirmed the importance of developing a forward-looking skills strategy for our sector and of exploring how the transformation in shipping has and can continue to help to improve the onboard working environment. We look forward to continue working with all the consortium partners in the Skillsea project and with our social partner ETF in the recently approved WESS project to continue to contribute to an Attractive, Smart and Sustainable Working Environment in the Shipping Sector and to the competitiveness of European seafarers and European shipping.”

The ETF and ECSA agreed that cooperation on various projects has importantly contributed to the knowledge of key areas of European shipping today and has helped them in setting their strategies in improving the industry for future generations.

Points of contact:

Lotte Ockerman
Policy Officer Maritime Transport,
European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF)
Galerie AGORA
Rue du Marché aux Herbes 105, Boîte 11 B
1000 Bruxelles
Email: l.ockerman@etf-europe.org
Tel: +32 485 924141.

Claudia Vella Casagrande
Director – Social, Fiscal & Legal Affairs,
European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA)
Boulevard du Régent, 43 – 44, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Email: claudia.vellacasagrande@ecsa.eu
Tel: +32 2 510 61 29
Mob: +32 485 81 25 87

For more information, please contact: Harold Tor-Daenens, Harold.Tor@ecsa.eu