Freight News, Sea

Lashing dispute goes to EU Commission – updated

[ June 8, 2020   //   ]

Six European shortsea and feeder ship operators have filed an official complaint with the European Commission, claiming that International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) attempts to force ships to use dockers for container lashing violate EU competition law.
In a letter to the Directorate-General for Competition on 19 May, the operators called for an investigation into the ITF and affiliated Dutch union FNV Bondgnoten. The complaint focuses on the ‘Dockers’ Clause’ part of an agreement reached between the ITF and the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) of maritime employers in 2018, which covers approximately 15,000 sea-going vessels worldwide. The six operators do not accept that JNG acted on their behalf in agreeing to a change in long-established working practices.
The Clause seeks to prohibit seafarers from lashing if qualified dock workers that are members to an ITF-affiliated union are available, with the ITF arguing that the approach is safer.

In response, ITF said: “The agreement was voluntarily negotiated and agreed upon between the ITF, representing seafarers, and Joint Negotiating Group (JNG), representing shipowners. This clause was negotiated in good faith and the ITF has an expectation that those who employ seafarers will adhere to this clause in the same way in which they are expected to adhere to the rest of the agreement.”