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European Commission to adopt new regulation on fishermen’s working conditions

The European Commission has agreed to adopt a proposal for a directive aimed at improving the working conditions in the fishing sector.

In 2013, the EU social partners in the fishing sector reached an agreement, which proposed to align EU law with the “working in fishing” Convention 2007 of the International Labour Organisation.

Once adopted, this directive will implement the social partner agreement, which provides for a higher level of protection of EU fishermen.

The directive includes minimum requirements for work on board — such as minimum age, medical certificate, information in the employment contract — conditions of service (working time limits, right of repatriation); accommodation and food; occupational safety; and health protection.

“Protecting our workers and their well-being is a priority for the Juncker Commission,” said commissioner for employment, social affairs, skills and labour mobility, Marianne Thyssen.

“More than 100,000 people in the EU work in the fisheries industry, often under difficult circumstances at sea. The accident and injury rate can be 15 times higher compared to other sectors. Today’s proposal will help to reduce the risks that fishermen face at work,” she said.

“The proposal is based on an agreement of the European sectoral social partners and an excellent example of their ability to work together to improve working conditions,” said Thyssen.

“The EU is leading the global fight against illegal fishing activities,” added EU fisheries commissioner Karmenu Vella.

“IUU [illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing] activity hurts the health and safety of fishermen. Today’s proposal will improve the working conditions of fishermen at sea, reduce the incentive for illegal fishing and ensure a healthy and sustainable fishing industry that continues to attract skilled and qualified workers.”

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