The sectors of Textile, Clothing, Leather and Footwear (TCLF) are traditional industries. Despite massive restructuring in the last decades, they are very present in Europe, with more than 1.3 million workers in the EU, and 2 million more in Turkey. Europe hosts some leading companies in technical textiles. It is also home to world-leading brands in fast fashion (Inditex group – Zara, H&M) and in luxury goods (LVMH group). Aside from marketing and design, which are still mainly performed in Europe, manufacturing has lost ground to low-cost "near-shore" or "off-shore" locations, where wages and working conditions can be very difficult (as illustrated by the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh in 2013). Thereby, the TCLF sectors are a forerunner in globalisation – for better and for worse.
In this sector, the action of industriAll Europe aims at improving the wages and working conditions, in Europe and in third countries (in cooperation with our sister organisation IndustriALL Global Union). We are actively involved in three European Sectoral Social Dialogues with employers (Textile & Clothing, Tanning & Leather, Footwear). In these fora, and in our interactions with the European institutions, we push for a better social dialogue, a recognition of trade union rights, a better management of skills and a concrete implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), in the European Union and in third countries.