Taiwan-US Maritime Labor Meeting: Mutual Exchange of Strategies to Advance Human Rights in Fisheries
The Taiwan-US Maritime Labor Meeting was held on the morning of October 28th. The government bodies of both sides shared their management policies of maritime workers’ working conditions, with the US further introducing their legal implementation basis for the protection of the human rights of fishing crews and the prevention of human trafficking. The discussion and view exchanges were lively. According to the Fisheries Agency of Taiwan, the views shared by the US can provide a reference for Taiwan to further improve the working conditions and rights and benefits of foreign crews. The Agency would, with this opportunity, thank the Ministry of Labor and the representative office in the United States for their great assistance in facilitating the meeting.
The Fisheries Agency explained that the meeting was attended by the US Department of Labor, the Ministry of Labor and the Fisheries Agency of Taiwan. The Agency, since the promulgation of the Regulations on the Authorization and Management of Overseas Employment of Foreign Crew Members in 2017, has been improving the rights and benefits of foreign crews, including setting the minimum hours of rest (inspired by the Working in Fishing Convention of International Labor Organization, ILO-C188), obliged use of standard contract to guarantee the salary and insurance coverage, implementing reviews on recruitment agents, amending the notification procedure of cases involving human trafficking, reinforce the inspections and crew interviews in domestic and foreign ports, and punishing vessel operators who violate relevant laws accordingly. The Agency also explained to the US during the meeting that, in order to improve and advance the rights and benefits of foreign crews, has formulated seven coping strategies and corresponding actions to ensure decent working conditions, strengthen living conditions and social protection, develop guidelines on charge items, enhance capacities for monitoring and implementation, reinforce the management of flag of convenience, establish and deepen international cooperation, and to promote partnerships with foreign crews. It is expected that, with the addition of funds and manpower resources, systematic improvement can be made to better protect foreign crews. Additionally, views and opinions from the industry and NGOs have been collected in various meeting.
In the end, the Fisheries Agency of Taiwan stated that, through this meeting, Taiwan can learn from the experience and practice of the US Department of Labor, and make the US understand the reforms Taiwan has taken to protect the human rights of crew members onboard fishing vessels and the implementation. The Agency will continue communicating with the US via the overseas missions and collaborate on this issue, expecting to create a win-win situation for crew members and the industry.
Contact Person: Deputy Director-General Mr. Kuo-Ping Lin