Dock Labor Schemes in the Context of EU Law and Policy

Patrick Verhoeven
European Research Studies Journal, Volume XIV, Issue 2, 149-166, 2011
DOI: 10.35808/ersj/323


The organization of dock labor and, more in particular, the use of dock labor schemes has been under EU scrutiny for a long while. The EU however has not come with clear-cut answers so far. The diversity of dock labor schemes existing in Europe is an important factor in assessing their compatibility with EU law. The compliance of dock labor schemes with internal market principles such as the freedom to provide services and the freedom of establishment has not been put to the direct test of European jurisprudence yet. It was the European Commission’s Directive proposal on port services that put the principle of freedom to provide services centre-stage. This paper sets out the EU legal and policy framework that applies to dock labor schemes. It also gives an extensive analysis of how dock labor interests contributed to the failure of the port services’ Directive. It further describes the process that emerged after the downfall of the Directive, including the proposal to set up a European social dialogue on port labor. Finally, it gives insight in ways in which European policy-makers may address the issue in the future.

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