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Workers’ representatives

European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF) (1971) (now:IndustriALL – European Trade Union)

Employers’ representatives

Community of European Shipyards’ Associations (CESA)


Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee (SSDC)

Informal working group:



17 September 2003

Rules of procedure:

26 November 2003

Work programme:

2007 – 2008

General overview

The shipbuilding sector, an extremely diverse industry, is highly cyclical and has, overall, seen an almost continuous decline in employment. The issue of state aid and international competition, especially from Asia, is key to this sector. The industry has been badly buffeted by the global economic and financial crisis since 2008, with an unprecedented collapse in the demand for new vessels – around 90% – and almost 15,000 jobs under threat across the EU.

Participants and challenges

Shipbuilding, the first subsector of the metalworking industry to organise itself into a Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee (SSDC), has developed a social dialogue that is mainly geared to lobbying the European institutions. It brings together the European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF) for the workers, and the Community of European Shipyards’ Associations (CESA) for the employers. One of the main topics addressed to date is vocational training and skills, with a view to improving the sector’s image among young people.


The range of topics covered by sectoral social dialogue in the European shipbuilding sector has so far remained very narrow: indeed the sole topic is human resources. The objectives set for social dialogue in the SSDC rules of procedure remain a long way off. Whereas the trade union side would like to see a stepping up of dialogue, internal splits on the employers’ side appear to be hampering progress.

Joint texts

The “shipbuilding” sectoral social dialogue has resulted, since 2003, in the adoption of 2 joint texts.

ETUI and Observatoire Social Européen (2010) European Sectoral Social Dialogue Factsheets. Project coordinated by Christophe Degryse, online publication available at www.worker-participation.eu/EU-Social-Dialogue/Sectoral-ESD