The European Parliament’s Committee on Development (DEVE) today approved a report by GUE/NGL Rapporteur Lola Sánchez Caldentey calling on the Commission to bring forward legislation to enhance due diligence for supply chains in the garment sector.
The report addresses human and labour rights violations in producer countries by pointing out at the ineffectiveness of self-regulation by the private sector in putting an end to them. It calls for an EU trade policy that promotes human rights and strengthens social and environmental protection in the garment sector – known for its exploitative practices.
Sánchez Caldentey called on the Commission to hold true to its promises two years ago upon the release of its new trade strategy ‘Trade for All’:
“With the approval of this report, the Committee has taken an important step towards a fairer world. The report calls for legislation with binding due diligence obligations to ensure respect for human rights and adequate social standards in the production of garments exported to the EU.”
“We call for core standards like occupational health and safety, health standards, a living wage, freedom of association and collective bargaining, measures for the prevention of sexual harassment and violence at the workplace, and the elimination of forced and child labour.”
The Spanish MEP argued for the elimination of social dumping – the exploitation of workers as cheap labour:
“Human rights violations and low standards for workers abroad lead to social dumping, impacting negatively on the textile industry in Europe. We call on the Commission to put in place mandatory measures to ensure that companies importing to the EU comply with a level playing field.”
“I hope that all political groups live up to their responsibilities and support the report when it goes to plenum. The European People’s Party (EPP) abstained in the vote today but they have a clear choice: either support human rights and dignity for all people or ignore the violations in favour of a business as usual approach,” the Spanish MEP warned.