IV Congress of European Transport Workers' Federation


From 29th to 30th May 2013 IV Congress of European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) was held. This time delegates met in Berlin. ETF it is pan-European organisation gathering trade unions organisations from the transport and fisheries sectors. More than 2,5 million employees are members of 225 trade unions from 41 European countries. Only in the maritime transport ETF organising 77 seafarers unions spread in 33 European countries, among which all EU countries (c.a. 272,000 seafarers).

At the Congress the Polish transport sector was represented by: Trade Union Workers of PKP Federation, Seamen's & Fishermen's Trade Union Federation, National Maritime Section NSZZ "Solidarnosc", National Section of Port Workers NSZZ "Solidarnosc" and Polish Seafarer's Union. Two our delegates - Henryk Piatkowski and Dariusz Konkol - have participated at this event. As an observer Kamil Butler also took part. Just before the Congress Kamil was a participant at the meeting of the ETF Youth Committee which is starting its activity.

Delegates to the Congress have assessed ETF activities connected with previous four-year term, have elected the governing bodies (the President, the General Secretary and the Executive Committee) and have adopted financial report and ETF Work Programme for further four years. Besides usual procedures, they have the opportunity to participate in two interesting thematic panels. 

The two panels concerned the "Transport policy for the people" and "Trade unions transports for social progress". The panel discussion was reflected in the resolutions adopted by the Congress. We will keep you informed on these topics, especially in matters concerning our maritime section.

Now, a few words about the results of the election. Lars Lindgren was re-elected as the President of the ETF and Eduardo Chagas was also re-elected as the General Secretary. Jacek Cegielski from National Maritime Section NSZZ "Solidarnosc" was elected as Member of the Executive Committee. He is also the Vice-Chairman of ETF Maritime Section. In the sections of the ETF, Maarten Gutt from the Trade Union Workers of PKP Federation was elected as Vice-Chairman of ETF Railway Section. 


Concerns of rise in number of seafarers impacted by crew change due to new COVID-variants

Written by Agnieszka Milanowska
Crew image
Joint press release from the ICS and the ITF

Shipping is concerned that the numbers of seafarers being impacted by the crew change crisis are on the rise due to travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to new variants.

 The latest collective industry analysis shows that 200,000 seafarers are currently affected by the crew change crisis, a marked reduction from the height of crisis where 400,000 needed to be repatriated.

However, with governments reintroducing stricter border control and travel restrictions due to new COVID-19 variants making it harder for crew to transfer to and from ships.

So far, only 55 countries and two associate members of the IMO have declared seafarers as keyworkers and more work must be done to ensure crew do not once again become collateral damage in the pandemic. In a landmark ruling in December 2020, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) found that governments have failed to protect seafarers’ rights as set out in international law under the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.  The UN agency called on states to recognise seafarers as key workers “without delay”.

Concerns about prioritisation for vaccination for seafarers must also be addressed. Vaccine passports being considered by some States pose a potential barrier to crew change as seafarers from developing nations are unlikely to have an opportunity to receive vaccines until July at the earliest. 

“The crew change crisis is not resolved but has reached a situation where it has been more manageable. However, there is great concern over the increased travel restrictions being imposed by governments in response to new variants. Seafarers must be designated as keyworkers. The crisis is still ongoing, and we will not let up our efforts. Governments will not be able to vaccinate their citizens without the shipping industry or, most importantly, our seafarers,” said Guy Platten, Secretary General ICS.

“The stark reality is that only a few handfuls of countries have treated seafarers with the respect they deserve by designating them real key worker status. Unless government’s move from the protectionist positions that they’ve been in for over 12 months now, and allow seafarers genuine free movement and prioritization for vaccinations sadly the situation could easily spiral out of control yet again,” said Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary.  


Designed by Free Joomla Templates