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McDonald presents major report to EU Parliament working conditions in Maritime industry

13 March, 2007

Sinn Fein MEP Mary Lou McDonald, speaking at the joint press conference in Strasbourg with Vice President of the European Commission Jacques Barrott and Commissioner Vladimir Špidla, said that the ILO Maritime Labour Convention, represents the "most significant and progressive legal code for seafarers since the Merchant Marine Act of 1920".

McDonald, the author of the European Parliament report recommending the adoption of the Maritime Labour Convention said, "The Convention brings together 65 previous ILO conventions into one consolidated document. It sets minimum requirements for seafarers, with provisions on: employment conditions and recruitment; working hours; wage protection; leave and repatriation; accommodation; recreation; food and catering; health and medical care; welfare and social security."

The ILO report which involved five years of discussion and debate involving key stakeholders in the maritime industry is notable according to the Vice President of the European Commission Jacques Barrott because of the "positive agreement secured between the ship-owners and maritime unions to support the provisions of the convention".

Ms McDonald added that, "Following on from positive comments made at today's press conference by Commissioner Barrott on the issue of exploitation of European Ferry workers, I am again urging the European Commission to re-table the proposal for a Ferries Directive".

"This type of race to the bottom exploitation, embodied by Irish Ferries in 2005, needs to be stopped. The adoption of my recommendation to the Parliament on the ILO Maritime Convention is a first step on re-establishing fair wages for ferry workers and revitalising a career option for Irish seafarers." ENDS

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