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Gnáthamharc

Ferry Operations.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 16 November 2005

Wednesday, 16 November 2005

Ceisteanna (141)

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

181 Mr. Morgan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he has had discussions regarding the pay and working conditions of workers on ferries operating between member states of the EU with the Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Vladimir Spidla; and if he will report on the discussions held. [31456/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources)

At present, EU Commission initiatives in the area of seafarer employment and working conditions are being progressed by the directorate general for energy and transport, which reports to Mr. Jacques Barrat, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Transport.

In 1998, the Commission had put forward proposals for a directive on the manning of regular passenger and ferry services operating in and between member states. The Commission issued a revised proposal in 2000. However, no final agreement was reached in the Council of Ministers on the matter and the Commission formally withdrew the proposal in 2004. A central point of the earlier draft directive was that workers on a ferry operating between member states should initially be from whatever two jurisdictions the ship is moving between; otherwise, workers of any nationality on the route in question should be subject to the same national pay rates as all other workers in the State concerned.

Following the failure of that initiative, the Commission has referred the question of the pay and conditions of seafarers working on ferries operating between member states, to the social partners. If a European social partnership agreement is reached, that agreement could be implemented through EU legislation. Ireland is one of the member states supporting the Commission's proposal on European social dialogue.

Another Community initiative of relevance to seafarers is that entitled "Boosting employment prospects in the Community maritime sector and attracting young people to the seafaring profession". My officials, who support this initiative, are currently examining the Commission's proposals as they are developed at working group and COREPER levels.

The UK EU Presidency is pressing to have maritime employment, including the Commission initiative to boost seafarer employment, discussed at the upcoming 5 December 2005 Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council. Ireland will be supportive of measures designed to protect EU seafaring jobs, while having regard to our almost total reliance on maritime transport. I have not had discussions with the EU Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Mr. Vladimir Spidla in view of the seafarer employment initiatives already being progressed by the Commission's directorate general for energy and transport and the current EU Presidency.

Question No. 182 answered with QuestionNo. 121.
Question No. 183 answered with QuestionNo. 114.
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