The contract of employment for boatmen on inland waterways is regulated by a special Law, dating from April 1, 1936, with numerous subsequent amendments.
This Law applies to any contract of employment covering service on a Belgian inland-waterway vessel. The term "inlandwaterway vessel" is defined in its Article 1, as follows: "any craft with a tonnage of more than three metric tonnes, irrespective of its mode of propulsion, which is habitually used for profit-making navigational operations on inland waterways, including tugs, ferries, rafts, dredgers, pontoon hoists and cranes and all similar craft, and also chartered inland-waterway vessels, but excluding vessels used for coastal and river fishing". The subject of the Law concerns profit-making activities; its provisions are therefore not applicable to pleasure-boating undertaken by individuals for their personal enjoyment, nor to operations carried on for scientific purposes. The term "inland waterways" is used to mean streams or rivers and their mouths and also canals in Belgium and other countries. Lastly, it should be noted that the employees in question must be involved in actual navigation, having entered into a contract of employment either to navigate (master) or to help navigate (crew-member) an inland-waterway vessel. Those whose work consists in guarding a vessel in harbour or in cleaning a vessel in harbour do not fall within the scope of the Law.
Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.