Special tax rules in the shipping industry have resulted in a dearth of Danish sailors employed on Danish vessels Tax rules.
Special tax rules in the shipping industry have resulted in a dearth of Danish sailors employed on Danish vessels Tax rules that encourage the shipping industry to hire foreign nationals instead of Danes may be in conflict with European Union guidelines, according to labour organisation 3F.
Special tax conditions for industry employees granted since 1998 by the Danish Maritime Authority (DIS) grant shipping companies exemption from paying income tax and social security contributions for the seafarers they employ.
3F believes those tax conditions make it easier and more profitable for Danish shippers ? primarily those engaged in dredging and cable-laying projects ? to employ foreign workers rather than Danes.
The issue resulted in the labour organisation filing a motion to the EU Commission. That motion was turned down by the commission, which determined that the rules amount to legitimate state support for DIS.
But 3F appealed the decision to the EU Court, the hearing of which begins today in Luxembourg.
One of the biggest problems with the rules is that they"ve been used to hire employees from outside the EU, such as Chinese or Philippine sailors," stated Henrik Berlau, a negotiator with 3F, on the organisation"s website.
'The basic result is that there isn"t a single Dane to be found among the crews of companies like A.P. Moller-Maersk or Torm. It"s a type of ethnic cleansing against Danish sailors," said Berlau.
Should 3F win the case, it would have a huge effect on personnel matters throughout the EU, as most countries have similar tax exemption schemes in place.
But Fritz Ganzhorn, secretariat manager of the Danish Maritime Officers, told Ritzau that the rules are necessary for global business, adding the court will have a hard time making a ruling against Denmark when so many other countries employ the same scheme.