Year: 2020
Social policy

COMPARATIVE REPORT. SPLIN. The Inspectorate network of the International Transport Workers Federation. A comparison of a transnational union enforcement action in Finland, Poland and Spain

Traditional labour inspectorates’ and social part¬ners’ instruments to generate and enforce labour standards seem to be limited when unlawful busi¬ness strategies deprive workers of their rights or when complex and transnational business models exploit regulatory loopholes and spoil fair compe¬tition. Hence, strategic and innovative practices are necessary to make the enforcement of labour standards more effective, especially in sectors with a high incidence of precarious employment and non-compliance. 

This report focuses on the ITF inspectorate network monitored by ITF - the International Transport Workers Federation - by comparing a transnational union enforcement action in Finland, Poland and Spain. The project explores enforcement activities bringing forward collaborative strategies to safe¬guard labour and social standards, and promote fair working conditions.

During the last decades, the maritime sector has become fissured comprising diverse transnational subcontractors, amongst others. Outsourcing of recruitment has increased the precarious working conditions of the employees. The role of ITF inspec¬tors to improve working conditions on vessels is undoubtedly important although the realization of effective enforcement action on Flag of Conven-ience (FOC) ships can be demanding. This report shows how national and transnational co-enforce-ment can work efficiently between ITF inspec¬tors and their cooperation partners, when there exists a mutual understanding of the importance to share knowledge of best practices. However, in some cases, the realization of co-enforcement can be impeded or hindered by organizational culture and/or juridical differences of the cooperation partners involved in ITF activities. 

The comparative report summarises the key results and conclusions drawn during a two-years international research project entitled “SPLIN, Fair working conditions: exploring the contribution of cooperation initiatives between Social Partners and Labour Inspection authorities”

Description of the project

The project is co-financed from the European Union Funds, budget heading ‘Improving Expertise in the field of Industrial Relations’.  Grant agreement number: VS/2019/0080.


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