TRANSPORT COUNCIL: IRELAND CALLS FOR LEGISLATION ON SEA CREWS' EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS.

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Ireland has asked the European Commission to present a new legislative proposal on the social conditions for the crews manning ferries operating within the EU. Ironically, the Commission had presented a proposal for just such a Directive in 1998, but withdrew it in 2004, as a result of it being continually blocked by the Council of Ministers. Since then, discussions on the subject have re-opened in the context of the European social dialogue. The aim is to reach an agreement on employment conditions for seafarers working on passenger ferries operating between member states.

The point was raised during the Transport Council in Brussels on December 5, because Ireland is now afflicted by "social dumping" caused by a dispute between Irish Ferries Limited (based in Ireland but registered in the Bahamas and flying a 'flag of convenience') and trade unions. The ferry company recently fired all its Irish personnel and employed foreigners, mainly from Eastern...

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