As part of a joint EU project ‘Building a Just Transition towards a Smart and Sustainable Mobility’ (JT4 Mobility), industriAll Europe and the ETF organised a second workshop on the maritime sector on 20 April 2023, addressing the technical and social challenges of the green transition on workers in maritime industries and services. The year-long project aims to create a better understanding of Just Transition between manufacturing and transport service workers, including external expertise from companies, employers’ associations and public institutions. 

The first panel underlined the energy challenges for sustainable shipping. The use of cleaner fuels and less polluting solutions is needed to decarbonise the various sub-sectors, but there is no single clean, unique solution. The finalised Fit for 55% package measures on EUFuels Maritime, the extension of the EU Emission Trading System and the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation, as well as the new Net Zero Industry Act proposals, give some signals, but large-scale uncertainty remains for workers in the maritime industries who are heavily impacted by the green transition.
IndustriAll Europe and the ETF insist on a Just Transition for the sector, ensuring that environmental targets go hand in hand with social justice, through social dialogue, creating decent work.

A second panel focused on the key social impacts of the green transition on manufacturing and transport workers. Ageing workforces and addressing labour shortages are an endemic problem, which necessitate skills strategies and re/upskilling of the existing workforce, whilst attracting new workers into the industries.

Judith Kirton-Darling, Deputy General Secretary of industriAll Europe, said:

“It is certainly welcome that industrial policy is back on the EU agenda – a long-term demand of industriAll Europe – but attention to the social dimension has been lacking. To green the industry, it is essential to keep our manufacturing capacity in Europe, which currently supports one million jobs. To this end, all public investment should come with social conditionalities. We demand that the sector is recognised for its strategic importance, all the more in the context of the green transition and EU offshore renewable energy ambitions. This transition cannot happen without us, and it must be negotiated and socially just.”

IndustriAll Europe and the ETF both stress the need to anticipate and manage changes as a result of the decarbonisation of the sector, with a call for training and upskilling programmes that will ensure a fair transition towards the green, maritime jobs. 

Sabine Trier, Deputy General Secretary of the ETF, explains: 

“It is important to know our legal framework and this is good timing for the Maritime Workshop, as a provisional agreement was reached on 18 April between the European Parliament and the Council to include shipping emissions in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). Workers are at the heart of the green transition, and they insist on a socially responsible transition.”