We need to be ambitious. Our demands focus on protecting workers and jobs in the short-term, but also on creating more jobs in the medium to long-term. We should look at re-shoring essential work to Europe via sustainable manufacturing processes.
The textile, clothing, leather and footwear (TCLF) sectors employ around 2 million workers in Europe and generated over 200 billion Euros turnover in 2019. However, these industries were heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the closure of retail stores and the stoppage of automotive and aerospace production. The immediate impact on workers was grave, and concerns about the future of the industry and potential job losses remain.
The Joint Statement calls for both immediate, and long-term action, in a range of areas including skills, sustainability, re-shoring manufacturing to Europe, trade policy, EU support and health and safety measures in the workplace.
Judith Kirton-Darling, Deputy General Secretary for industriAll Europe, said:
“Today’s Joint Statement is an important step towards the recovery of the TCLF sectors. It is vital that workers are protected, both via strict health and safety measures and adequate social security measures. National and EU support for viable companies is paramount, but trade unions insist that any funding must be accompanied by strong social and employment conditions.
‘’We need to be ambitious. Our demands focus on protecting workers and jobs in the short-term, but also on creating more jobs in the medium to long-term. An increased ambition and investment in green industrialisation would be a huge benefit to these sectors and COVID-19 has shown that the production of PPE is an essential activity. Therefore, we should look at re-shoring essential work to Europe via sustainable manufacturing processes which would be good for the environment and would create new jobs in Europe.
‘’Challenges remain for the TCLF industries, and their workers, and industriAll Europe will continue to demand strong national and EU action to both protect jobs and ensure a sustainable recovery for the sector which is vital for thousands of workers and their communities.’’
Social Partner Joint Statement