About the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation - Europe
The ERO:TCL (European Regional Organisation of Workers in the Textile, Clothing, Leather and Footwear sectors) was officially set up on January 23, 1975 in Brussels. The history of the Organisation actually began in 1964 with the launch of the “European Research Department” as part of what was known at the time as the International Federation of Textile and Garment Workers.
Today, the ERO:TCL is a group of 59 free and democratic trade union federations stemming from 32 European countries (mainly the European Union, the European Economic Area, accession countries as well as EU candidate countries, but also from the Balkans and a number of other Eastern European countries). As a result, the ERO:TCL represents more than one million workers, in other terms one in three in the TCL sectors within the area delimited by the Council of Europe.
The ERO:TCL ensures cooperation and dialogue between the various affiliated branch federations and coordinates actions led by its unions in Europe based on a joint programme adopted by the General Assembly.
The ERO:TCL also aims to:
1) Defend and foster social, economic and cultural interests of workers in the textile, clothing, leather and footwear sectors within European institutions (the Commission, Parliament, Council, the Economic and Social Committee, etc.), within European employer organisations (Euratex, Cotance and the CEC) and within any other relevant transnational organisation;
2) Support the establishment, development and strengthening of free and democratic trade unions, which represent the interests of workers in the textile, clothing, leather and footwear industries throughout Europe;
3) Provideaffiliates with any information that deals with economic, industrial and social developments in the sectors they cover.
The ERO:TCL is made up of three governing bodies: the General Assembly, the Executive Committee and the Presidium.
The General Assembly meets every four years and is the ERO:TCL’s supreme authority. It includes delegates from each affiliated organisation and prepares the broad political guidelines of the Organisation.
The Executive Committee meets once a year and is in charge of materialising the ERO:TCL’s activities as well as carefully implementing the General Assembly’s decisions. Each affiliated federation is entitled to one seat.
Lastly, the Presidium normally meets twice a year and is in charge of the ERO:TCL’s daily management. It is also empowered to take decisions pertaining to urgent matters. The Presidium is made up of twelve members.
Valeria Fedeli, from Filtea-CGIL (Italy) was elected President of the ERO:TCL during the 2001 Congress meeting in Toledo.
The ERO:TCL forms an integral part of the ITGLWF. At European level it works in close cooperation with the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and with the ten other European trade union branch federations.
The ERO:TCL’s Secretariat is located in Brussels (8 rue Joseph Stevens at 1000 Brussels, Belgium), not far away from European employer organisations and European NGO’s. The General Secretary is Patrick Itschert.
The actual operating costs of the ERO:TCL are covered by the membership levies from affiliated organisations. Training projects as well as development aid projects on the other hand are co-funded by donating organisations and by European money.
The trade union newsletter is published monthly with a view to circulating and sharing information at regional level
European regional secretary Patrick Itschert with Manfred Schallmeyer IG Metall and former president of the ITGLWF.
With regard to economic matters the ERO:TCL closely follows negotiations as part of the Doha Development Agenda (WTO), China’s admission to the WTO, as well as the Union’s enlargement and the implementation of the pan-Euro-Mediterranean area. The ERO:TCL has also been particularly active in all the campaigns aimed at including a social aspect in all international trade agreements and in all the autonomous policies of the European Union, considering that such a clause would ensure fairer redistribution of assets stemming from trade liberalisation.The ERO:TCL has been the first organisation to sign a framework agreement / code of conduct in Europe.
In the social realm the ERO:TCL has set up meetings aimed at training on implementing European information and consultation bodies, and further supported (and in some cases even directly took part in) negotiations of various agreements that established European Works Councils (EWC’s). The Organisation is also involved in the European coordination of collective bargaining among its various affiliates, as this is the only way to achieve joint claims; the ERO issues an annual report on the subject. The Organisation was also one of the first industrial federations to launch sector-based social dialogue committees at European level: in the textile-clothing sector, the footwear and tanning sectors. The Organisation attends ETUC-UNICE-CEEP negotiations on a regular basis as part of the cross-industry social dialogue. The last topical matter concerns the four-party discussions on « Corporate Social Responsibility.