Next week, the European Parliament Report on the EU flagship initiative on the garment sector, of which Lola Sánchez Caldentey MEP is rapporteur, will be debated on 26 April and finally voted on 27 April.
For too many years now, global supply chains in the garment sector have been responsible for inequalities, injustice, insecurity and human rights violations affecting many workers, 80 per cent of whom are women. Moreover, with roughly 70 per cent of EU imports of textile and clothing coming from Asia, the EU has to play a key role in establishing a level playing field to ensure that clothes and textiles are being produced in a safe environment and that workers’ rights are being respected.
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, SOLIDAR fully support this initiative as we believe there is an urgent need to make global supply chains responsible. Beyond voluntary initiatives, we encourage the European Commission to develop a legislative proposal for binding supply chain due diligence obligations in the garment sector, aligned with OECD Guidelines and the highest internationally agreed standards on human rights and social and environmental standards.
Given the seriousness and the scope of the issue (about 60 - 75 million people are working in the garment sector worldwide), only binding instruments will trigger a move towards gender equality, decent work, the respect of human rights.