Manifesto for the Shipbuilding Industry in the face of global and technological challenges

As informed by the National Commission of the Independent and Self-Governing Trade Union (NSZZ) “Solidarność”, after almost a year of discussion in the Trilateral Team for Shipbuilding Industry at the request of the National Section for Shipbuilding Industry NSZZ “Solidarność” a “Manifesto for the Shipbuilding Industry – Maritime Technologies: a strategic sector for Poland” has been adopted.

The document is the response to the challenges of the global economy and the urgent need to develop a strategy for the shipbuilding industry.

The manifesto of social partners in the shipbuilding sector was signed on 10 October 2019 by the Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation Marek Gróbarczyk, Chairman of the National Section of the Shipbuilding Industry NSZZ “Solidarność” Mirosław Piór, and on the employers’ side by Grzegorz Landowski, CEO of the Maritime Portal.

This document is important for shipbuilding production, personnel training, sea trade, defence, ecology, labour issues and challenges imposed by the competitiveness of China, which wants to play a leading role in the maritime area and shipbuilding production since 2025.

The document is intended to be the basis for action relating to the development and adoption of an industrial strategy for theblue economy‘, namely the development of the shipbuilding sector and maritime technologies.

The social partners co-creating the Tripartite Team for the Shipbuilding Industry, representing the parties to the social dialogue for the successful development of the Polish shipbuilding industry, agree that the shipbuilding and ship repair sector is strategic for the Polish economy, and this should be confirmed by the adoption of a dedicated industrial strategy for the Marine Technology sector in Poland.

Without a special strategy, it will be more difficult for the shipbuilding sector, which is part of the European maritime technology sector, to meet social and economic challenges and to exploit its potential and opportunities.

They stress the need for strategic commitment on the part of the state with regard to the future of this sector, its employees, including educational and research institutions.

Until now, Europe and the US have been at the forefront

This is the result, inter alia, of investment in innovation, development and research. The signatories recall that the maritime technology sector in Europe is made up of more than 22 000 maritime equipment companies and around 300 shipyards, employing more than 900 000 skilled workers and generating annual production worth €112.5 billion. However, the European market for high-tech, high-value special purpose vessels, in particular cruise ships (and larger ferries), will be subject to increasing Asian pressure.

China is preparing to enter this market sector and intends to build a “critical capacity” for waterborne transport, threatening European shipyards, which produce half of the world’s specialised and high-tech vessels.

To remain competitive and enable the sector to meet its societal challenges, policy makers need to be asked to adopt an industrial strategy for the TM sector in Europe to protect regions, businesses and the welfare of the sector’s workers.

The document points out that the marine and maritime technology sector is also a key sector for European defence. European naval shipyards contribute to the European Common Security and Defence Policy. Naval vessels and naval equipment are also important for the operation of coastguards.

For Poland not to lose in fierce competition, it is essential to implement a new industrial strategy, adapted to the needs and challenges, stimulating creative and innovative advantages through the provision of suitably educated and qualified workers. This requires rigorous protection of intellectual property.

Within the shipbuilding sector in Poland, the rules of the social standards agreement adopted by the European Shipbuilding and Repair Dialogue Committee must be implemented and the ‘Code of Good Practice for Safety and Health at Work for Shipbuilding’ recommended by the ILO must be disseminated in the Polish shipbuilding sector.

rel (NSZZ “Solidarność” National Commission / ASG)

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