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Inland waterways sector

New conclusions and recommendations pave the way to decent work in the inland waterways sector

Governments, employers’ and workers’ representatives agreed on concrete measures to improve the living and working conditions of inland water transport workers and establish a level-playing field in the sector.

News | 06 December 2023
© Frederick Doerschem
GENEVA (ILO News) – A set of conclusions and recommendations to advance decent work in the inland waterways sector has been agreed at a meeting of governments, workers’ and employers’ representatives in Geneva.

The delegates agreed that fundamental principles and rights at work and ratified international labour Conventions should be effectively applied to all inland water transport workers, and that, to this end, national and transnational laws and regulations need to be adopted, reviewed, implemented and enforced, taking into account the specificities of the sector.

Meeting for the first time in 30 years, the tripartite constituents for the inland waterways sector also called for the strengthening of labour inspection systems onboard inland waterways vessels, the collection and reporting of sectoral employment data, and for support for a just transition in the sector.

The Conclusions and recommendations provide clear guidance to the ILO and its Member States on future actions in the inland waterways sector.

The meeting requested the ILO to encourage policy coherence through collaboration with river commissions and regional economic commissions. The ILO will also organize tripartite forums to encourage cooperation among riparian states, to advance decent work in the inland waterways sector at the regional level.

“The outcome of our sectoral meeting coincides with the celebration of the first World Sustainable Transport Day and lives up to the expectations and ambitions attached to it,” said Yukiko Arai, Deputy Director and Officer-in-Charge of the ILO Sectoral Policies Department. “The conclusions and recommendations adopted by consensus truly harness the potential of the inland waterways sector to generate decent work for the attainment of sustainable development and social justice, and the Office is committed to operationalizing them in support of our tripartite constituents’ efforts at the global, regional and country levels.”