On 6-7 May in Kaohsiung, Taiwan and the European Union (EU) discussed their respective legal and regulatory framework and practice to ensure decent working and living conditions of fishers. More than 60 participants from public administration, fishing industry, unions, civil society and academia attended the workshop to discuss and understand gaps, challenges and solutions for decent work in fishing.
Fishing is an important industry in the EU and Taiwan providing livelihoods for many workers and their families and a major source of food. However, fishing is recognised as one of the most hazardous and high-risk occupations. The migrant background of many fishers further exacerbates their risk of falling victim to discrimination, abuse or exploitation. These challenges make it important to ensure that the fishing sector is subject to effective labour legislation that will protect fishers and will help make this profession attractive and sustainable.
The EU and Taiwan agreed that the global economy requires both a level playing field and a shared approach to common challenges. In this context, international labour standards, especially ILO Decent Work in Fishing Convention No. 188, have inspired labour law in the EU as well as Taiwan.
The EU and its Member States have improved fishers’s rights by transposing relevant parts of the ILO Work in Fishing Convention into the EU legal framework. Taiwan also introduced a series of measures to combat human trafficking and forced labour and to safeguard the rights of fishers on its fishing vessels. Taiwan is considering further actions to address remaining decent work deficits for fishers.
The presentations from the EU and Taiwanese experts and subsequent discussions with participants identified the issues of fair recruitment and placement as well as adequate monitoring and inspection as the biggest challenges for effective enforcement of fishers’s fundamental rights. The solutions are better rules as well as effective enforcement and inspection.
To achieve the objectives of decent work, the EU and Taiwan promote dialogue with social partners and civil society who actively participated in the workshop.
The workshop showed that mutual sharing of experience and best practices between the EU and its partners plays an important role in creating decent working conditions for all.
The EU and Taiwan agreed to exchange information on their respective situation and developments in their law, regulation and practice in this field.
This workshop was organised under the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument of the European Commission (TAIEX) funded by the EU Partnership Instrument.