EU Shipping Law
European Union law relating to employment in the shipping sector
The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of selected aspects of the European Union (“EU”) law relating to the employment of people in the shipping sector and, in particular, seafarers.1 This chapter should be read in conjunction with the earlier chapter on the registration of ships2 and other chapters in the book3 because employment touches on various aspects of EU law. It is not proposed to set out the whole of the EU law relating to employment (which would justify a book in its own right) but to concentrate on certain aspects of EU law as they relate to employment in the shipping sector. In principle, the EU law relating to shore-based staff should be the same as on-board personnel but the EU has historically made a number of exceptions for seafarers to deny them some of the protections afforded to shore-based workers but those differences are being removed slowly as will be described in this chapter generally. It is also worth recalling that the employment of some workers in the sector – specifically, dockers – has proved very controversial with rioting in the streets in Brussels when the European Commission sought to change the rules on ports.4
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