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The fishing sector and administration agree that ILO Convention 188 will be a differentiating element in the social commitment of the Spanish fleet

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Tuesday, December 05, 2023, 07:00 (GMT + 9)

The fishing sector and the Public Administration have agreed that Convention 188 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on work in the fishing sector, which will enter into force on February 29, will be a differentiating element of the social commitment of the Spanish fleet in the world. This has been stated by all the participants in the Technical Conference organized by the Association of Fishing Producer Organizations in Spain, which brought together representatives of the fishing sector and the three organizations involved1 responsible for monitoring compliance with the Convention.

Félix Peinado, director of the ILO Office for Spain, who participated in the first panel of the day, pointed out that the ratification of this agreement will help create conditions of fair competition between countries and recalled that, in the world, more More than 15 million people work full-time in fishing activities and it is estimated that 128,000 people do so under conditions of forced labor.

For her part, Silvia Solís, deputy director general of Economic Sustainability and Social Affairs of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), also present at the conference, highlighted that the Agreement brings together the regulatory dispersion in labor matters that existed in Spain and how the sector itself has always “pushed” to delve deeper and advance in this matter.

The sector, through Javier Garat, president of Pesca España, has conveyed to the Public Administration its commitment to collaboration in socio-labor matters of workers, but has also urged it to defend the “level playing field” of our fleet and the European fleet. compared to other fleets, such as the Asian one, which, with low quality standards in this matter, easily introduce their products into the EU.

Garat has also expressed to the representatives of the Administration who made up the second round table of the day, the concern of the sector as the regulatory framework that will guide the control of compliance with the Agreement included in the draft of the July 6, 2021 Royal Decree Project has not yet been developed.

In this sense, all representatives of the Public Administration stated that obtaining the certificate of compliance should not pose any problem for the fleet given its high standards in the socio-labor aspects of its workers.

Thus, Ana Núñez, deputy director general of Safety, Pollution and Maritime Inspection of the General Directorate of the Merchant Navy of the Ministry of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, wanted to convey tranquility to the sector and the willingness to help from the inspection function.

Núñez also added that the majority of Spanish fishing vessels already comply with the RD and that "now we just have to certify it." Finally, she expressed that obtaining the certificate of compliance with the Convention will be approached gradually, to make it easier for the sector.

Likewise, Alba Ballesteros, Labor and Social Security inspector of the General Subdirectorate for the Coordination of the Inspection of the Labor Relations System, has stated that the will of the administrations in their inspection tasks is to minimize the bureaucratic burden for shipowners.

José María Pérez Toribio, Deputy Director General of Instituto Social de la Marina, endorsed these statements and influenced the dialogue to be able to undertake the inspections with the greatest security and tranquility for all parties involved. For his part, Juan Manuel Trujillo, head of Fisheries at CCOO and president of the fishing section of the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF), gave a complete overview of the path followed by Convention 188 until its ratification by Spain.

The day concluded with the presentation of the practical application of responsibility and social commitment of the Spanish fleet, which translates into working conditions that exceed those required by Convention 188 and which are essential, according to the sector, to achieve loyalty of current professionals and the attraction of new generations. Thus, Sergio López, manager of the Burela OPP, has explained how his organization takes great care of everything related to its crews to ensure their well-being and compliance with social and labor rights as a result of the OPP's commitment.

Likewise, Julio Morón, managing director of OPAGAC, has highlighted the proactivity of the Spanish tuna fleet in promoting the certification of the social sustainability of fishing activity on an international scale, with the promotion of the Responsible Fishing Tuna (APR) seal. , a pioneer in guaranteeing the labor rights of its crew members, as well as the best health and safety conditions on board, in accordance with Convention 188.

For his part, Manuel Bermúdez, project manager at the Port of Celeiro, highlighted how a series of measures and improvements have been incorporated into the crews' daily lives to promote and respect their working conditions, as a result of his organization's concern for the well-being of its associates.

Antonio Nieto, manager of Pesca España, closed the Technical Conference by reaffirming the commitment of the associated organizations to labor rights, “a commitment that goes further and speaks of how fishing takes care of its workers, so we have to be able to to communicate the progress and efforts of a sector that looks to the future to ensure the well-being of all crews and workers.”

Convention 188 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) is the set of minimum standards that regulates working conditions in the fishing sector. The text compiles a large part of the international standards that guarantee living and working conditions for the fishing sector. Its objective is to promote quality employment in the fleets and its approval implies that Spain adheres to the highest labor standards for our fishermen, to guarantee that they enjoy decent employment and living conditions on board fishing vessels.

In April 2022, the Congress of Deputies unanimously supported Spain's accession to C188. In February of this year, the relevant instruments were deposited at the ILO headquarters in Geneva, and in April the instrument of accession to the convention by Spain was published. Our country has been the last European fishing power to ratify this treaty, agreed to by 437 nations in 2007. In Norway, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Portugal, France and Italy, among a list of 21 parties, it is already in force.

The day culminated with a cocktail in which attendees tasted different fishing products from Pesca España associates, associations and collaborating companies: red shrimp from the OPP-71 of Almería, Balfegó bluefin tuna, hake from the pincho, blue shark and mako from the Burela OPP; hake from the OPP-77 Puerto de Celeiro skewer, shrimp from Krustagroup, white shrimp from the OPP-81 Association of Shipowners of Punta del Moral, and cuttlefish and mullet from the Association of Purse-Seine Fishing Vessel Owners of Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cercopesca).

Source: Pesca España (Translated from the original in Spanish)

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