Nautilus International has welcomed the news that the Netherlands has become the 21st country to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 – the so-called ‘bill of rights’ for seafarers.
At a ceremony in Geneva this month, officials from the Union joined with Dutch government representatives and shipowners to make the first tripartite presentation of the instruments of ratification to the UN agency, the International Labour Organisation.
Nautilus assistant general secretary Marcel van den Broek said:‘I am delighted that the years of hard work by our social partners has finally been concluded with the successful ratification of the seafarers ‘Bill of Rights’ in the Netherlands.
‘It is good news for all Dutch seafarers that ratification has happened now so that the Netherlands is among the first 30 states to ratify. This will mean that once it comes into effect there will not be a negative impact on Dutch seafarers.
‘Ratification reflects the commitment shown by the social partners in the Netherlands to provide the world’s seafarers with fair working and living conditions while creating an equal level-playing field for ship owners – all of which are central to the union’s mission.’
Hylke Hylkema from Nautilus International and the workers representative for the Netherlands praised the process of consultation between social partners and the government of the Netherlands.
‘The process through a joint platform made up of representatives of workers and shipowners from Maritime, Dredging and the Fishery industry, contributed greatly to the success.
Points of difference were resolved in the Platform and the social partners spoke with one voice in the talks with the government.
In ratifying the MLC, the Netherlands becomes the sixth EU member State to implement the EU Council.
Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson described the development as ‘great news’ and said the fact that Australia is also ratifying brings the entry into force of the convention even closer.
‘However, this again brings into stark contrast the situation in the UK — which is frankly embarrassing, ’ he added. ‘But we live in hope that 2012 might deliver a UK signature too.’
A full report will be found in the January issue of the Telegraph which will be available on the Nautilus International website next week.