Living and working conditions in inland navigation in Europe

This study explores various aspects of the inland navigation in the European region, addressing all the essential aspects in relation to the working and living conditions of the crews, including relevant laws and regulations, occupational safety and health, social security and enforcement, etc.

Inland waterway transport (IWT) is transportation by means of inland waterways. It is one of the cheapest and most environmentally friendly types of transport available. The European Union Commission has recognized its untapped potential and has actively encouraged many initiatives to promote it as an important source of cargo transportation. In spite of those initiatives, however, not much is known about the general living and working conditions of IWT workers, actually. Especially, the fact that vessels cross borders on a daily basis in the most major rivers in the various regions means that the crews of these vessels are subject to different countries’ laws and regulations all the time, and that they sometimes even fall through the gaps in the laws and regulations, which must have serious impact on their living and working conditions.

This report attempts to fill those gaps by providing an detailed overview and analysis of such conditions in the IWT sector, and the rules that govern them. Its final aim is to analyse fragmented and overlapping regulatory framework and institutions involved in this sector in the European region, and propose ways to fill the gaps among the various regulatory frameworks. For that purpose, it covers not only the general overview in this sector, such as technological developments, personnel, social dialogue and the hierarchy of the various regulatory frameworks, but also various chronic and emerging issues including minimum requirements for qualification, training and certification, conditions of service like employment agreement and working time, occupational safety and health, social security and enforcement issues. It also tries to analyze the impact of the current global economic and financial crisis which necessitates special consideration of the working and living conditions of the crews in this sector.