With the European Parliament back to work following the winter recess, industriAll Europe has wasted no time in stepping up its engagement with EU policy makers on important EU files focused on the textiles ecosystem (textiles, clothing, leather and footwear). 

The European Parliament has picked up its pace on the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles and the EU Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence. Both files are of great importance to trade unions, which continue to demand that sustainability should focus on people as well as the planet. 

This week, industriAll Europe took part in a special dialogue between European trade unions and home workers on creating an inclusive EU Due Diligence Directive. The event, which was attended by around 100 participants from across the world, was organised by WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing) and sought to raise the specific concerns of textile home workers who desperately call for strong EU due diligence to help improve their working conditions. 

Judith Kirton‐Darling, Deputy General Secretary for industriAll Europe, said:

‘’The situation facing some home-based garment workers in countries like Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh is shocking. Workers are underpaid, forced to buy their own sewing equipment and are too scared to raise their issues in case they lose their jobs. It is essential that the forthcoming EU Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence covers all workers in the supply chain, including home workers in the garments sector, and has real teeth to stop these bad working practices.’’

Also, this week, industriAll Europe spoke as a panelist in the European Parliament at an event on sustainable textiles. The event, hosted by the rapporteur of the European Parliament’s report on the the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles, was attended by over 350 participants from a range of backgrounds. IndustriAll Europe used the opportunity to insist on further EU action to tackle unfair trading practices, increase transparency and traceability, improve wages and working conditions, and ensure real due diligence throughout the sector in order to move to a truly sustainable textile sector.

Judith Kirton‐Darling, Deputy General Secretary for industriAll Europe, added:

‘’There cannot be a truly sustainable textile sector without looking at the social element. Textile workers, both in and outside Europe, are some of the worst paid and we need to improve their wages and working conditions now. We call on the European Parliament to strengthen the social aspect of the EU Textiles Strategy and to improve the Commission’s proposal on due diligence. Textile workers have suffered for too long, and we now need strong EU legislation to ensure that all textile products on the EU market respect both the environment and workers.’’

On the day of the event, industriAll Europe, along with other civil society organisations, published an updated list of demands to MEPs in order to improve the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles.

Notes to the editor:

Joint Civil Society demands for MEPs

IndustriAll Europe’s position paper on the EU Textiles Strategy 

IndustriAll Europe’s position paper on Due Diligence