Fair wage and working conditions within the European Maritime Space

The report presents recommendations upon which a European Maritime Space can be constructed and which can guide the drafting of a legal framework that strikes a fair balance between competition and free movement, on the one hand, and fair wages and working conditions, on the other.  

Fair wage and working conditions within the European Maritime Space

Executive summary 
From the perspective of international law, it is not problematic to impose EU employment conditions on seafarers with a nationality of a third State where either the vessel is flagged in an EU Member State or is operated by a company established in the Union.  
Currently, the European Maritime Space is governed by EU primary law, the national law of the EU Member States, regulation 4055/86 of 22 December 1986 applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime transport between Member States and between Member States and third countries, and regulation 3577/92 of 7 December 1992 applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime transport within Member States (maritime cabotage). Neither EU primary law nor EU secondary law provides free movement rights to actors from third countries. The purpose of the regulations on maritime transport services and maritime cabotage is to implement the right to free movement within their relevant fields. These regulations do not implement the flag state principle, which is a concept of international law.  
The values on which the European Union rests demand a balance between economic rights, on the one hand, and social values, including workers’ rights, on the other. The general principle underpinning the European Working Space is that the host state in which a service is delivered, is obliged to ensure the protection of a core set of workers’ rights through the enactment of mandatory, prescriptive rules and by providing for the effective enforcement of these rules.  
Currently the law of the EU Maritime Space differs from that of the European Working Space in general. We have not identified any legal arguments that can explain or justify this difference. In our view, the current state of the law is at odds with the fundamental legal values espoused by the Treaties and the key European policy on the establishment of a European Social Pillar. 
The report presents recommendations upon which a European Maritime Space can be constructed and which can guide the drafting of a legal framework that strikes a fair balance between competition and free movement, on the one hand, and fair wages and working conditions, on the other.  
We recommend the enactment of a Union standard, based on the principle that the same work in the same jurisdiction should be remunerated in the same manner:  
- Crews employed on vessels that provide maritime services within or between EU Member States shall be covered by conditions of employment that are equal or superior to those applicable in the EU Member States concerned. 
The Posting of Workers Directive is a key template for the construction of the European Working Space. Article 1.2 of the Directive states that it shall not apply to “merchant navy undertakings as regards seagoing personnel”.  

 

We recommend that 
- the legal and political legitimacy of the exception clause in the Posting of Workers Directive is reassessed and reconsidered by reference to the fundamental legal principles on which the Union is based, by reference to the policy choices that underpin the European Pillar of Social Rights and by reference to the legal and political considerations that guide the construction of EU Law in other sectors of the economy.  
International law does not require the EU domestic right to free movement to be conferred on actors whose vessels are registered outside the Union. If such actors benefit from the right to free movement, there is a risk that European law will be used as a means to enjoy the free movement of third-country wages and working conditions within the Union. In our view, this is contrary to the basic idea that the Member States share a common set of values (Article 2 TEU), a premise upon which free movement rests. To reinstate the link between rights and obligations, and to ensure a fair balance between economic rights and social rights, we recommend that 
- rights that flow from domestic EU law, the right to free movement in particular, should not be attributed to service providers that register their vessels in third countries and operate on the basis of third-country wages and working conditions. 
With regard to the division of competences between the EU home state and the EU host state pertaining to issues relating to the protection of the working conditions of seafarers performing work temporarily within the territory of an EU Member State, we recommend the same distribution of powers as constituted by the Posting of Workers Directive. Article 3 of that directive establishes that whatever law is applicable to the employment relationship, the Member State where the work is carried out shall ensure that there exists regulation that covers the following: 


 - maximum work periods and minimum rest periods  - minimum paid annual holidays - minimum rates of pay, including overtime rates; this point does not apply to supplementary occupational retirement pension schemes the conditions of hiring-out of workers, in particular the supply of workers by temporary employment undertakings - health, safety and hygiene at work - protective measures with regard to the terms and conditions of employment of pregnant women or women who have recently given birth, of children and of young people - equality of treatment between men and women and other provisions on nondiscrimination. 
In our view, the distribution of competences enshrined in the Posting of Workers Directive reflects a general principle of European Law, the purpose of which is to ensure that the balance between economic rights and social rights becomes a reality in practice. 
The successful implementation and enforcement of the suggested framework presupposes the delegation of responsibilities to the Social Partners, in accordance with Article 152 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.  
Based on the principle “that the same work at the same place should be remunerated in the same manner” we recommend in particular empowering the Social Partners to: 

- declare that the principle is observed , or to enact collective agreements the observation of which shall be considered sufficient to ensure respect for the principle. - establish agreements specifying to which territory the provision of a maritime service is to be attributed.  - decide that the provision of a maritime services should be attributed solely to the territory of one Member State even though the vessel occasionally operates in the waters of other EU member States - represent EU and third-country seafarers before national bodies and EU bodies, including courts.  
  

 

 

Tags: Working conditions, wages By Finn Arnesen, Tarjei Bekkedal
Published Oct. 22, 2019 4:51 PM - Last modified Oct. 22, 2019 4:51 PM