Labour MEPs will this week vote to reject the European Commission's proposal for an EU Port Services Regulation, on the grounds that the proposed legislation includes few tangible benefits for the ports sector, its workers or the environment.
The Commission's proposal is the third attempt to establish ports legislation at EU level, after previous draft laws were withdrawn following large scale protests by dock workers in a campaign backed by Labour MEPs.
Lucy Anderson MEP, Labour's European Parliament spokesperson on transport, said:
“Labour MEPs have consistently challenged these proposals and previous draft laws because they fail to recognise the different port models and approaches in each EU country.
“Although this latest version does make some effort to take different national systems into account, it remains difficult to see how the proposed legislation will help to improve the performance of ports, modernise their services or attract vital investment.
“By its very nature the ports industry cuts across borders and Labour MEPs recognise the benefits of a common set of EU rules that enable the UK to compete fairly with other Member States. But these current suggestions offer little added value for the sector.”
Labour MEPs are also concerned by the lack of employment and environmental provisions within the proposed legislation.
Lucy Anderson MEP added:
“This proposed legislation is a missed opportunity to establish appropriate EU standards in the ports sector that prioritise safety, fair terms and conditions for port workers, tackling pollution and reducing carbon emissions.
“The parliament's draft report does include some provisions to encourage good practice in tendering processes and the provision of training for workers. But these limited measures are insufficient to justify supporting the legislation as a whole, even on the assumption that they would survive negotiations with EU governments in the European Council on a final text.”
Following the vote, the European Parliament is expected to enter into negotiations with ministers to find a common position. MEPs would then in due course have a final vote on whether the proposals become law or are rejected.
Lucy Anderson MEP said:
“This vote is an important step in the process but there is still a long way to go. Labour MEPs will continue to work with the UK's ports industry and trade unions to oppose this unnecessary legislation.”