A New Step towards Responsible Management of the Supply Chain in the Garment Sector

With globalisation, supply chains have come to dominate global garment-related trade. Employing more than 75 million people, the garment trade is also the place where human rights are far too often violated and social security is almost or completely absent. The Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh in 2013 has shown the harsh reality and unsafe environment in which millions of workers have to work all day long. As a result, policy-makers have been asked to take urgent and responsible actions.

Against this background, Lola Sánchez Caldentey MEP, the rapporteur, presented the draft report on EU Flagship initiative on the garment sector to the European Parliament on 12 January. This initiative is aimed to ensure responsible management of the garment supply chains in order to guarantee the respect of human rights and people’s dignity.

SOLIDAR welcomes the consideration and inclusion, in the draft report, of essential and interconnected dimensions characterising the global garment-related trade. Among other dimensions, it includes:

  • The gender dimension. The draft report enhances the gender perspective, which is fundamental as the garment sector employs a great majority of women
  • The decent work and labour standard-related dimension. This includes the issues of abusive labour-intensive work, low wages, and unsafe and unhealthy working conditions. On the top of it, the draft report recognises the central role of trade unions and worker organisations as essential partners for social dialogue and for ensuring the respect of social and labour rights
  • The transparency dimension. Transparency and traceability throughout the whole supply chain are seen in the draft report as key to raise awareness and properly tackle the many issues related to the garment sector.

Finally, the European Parliament encourages the Commission to prepare a legislative proposal for the adoption of legally binding instruments in the supply chain related to the garment sector. SOLIDAR fully supports this, as was reiterated during the 105th ILO conference last year, in which SOLIDAR together with its members FOS (Belgium) and Solidar Suisse (Switzerland), OGBL-Solidarité syndicale (Luxembourg) actively participated.

 

The draft report will be voted in Plenary Assembly in April 2017.

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