Supporting the competitiveness of our industry in Europe
Supporting the competitiveness of our industry in Europe, likely to become a promising sector for the future within the Union
The textile, clothing, leather and footwear industry has a future in Europe, but for that future to materialize the sector needs to bank more strongly on quality, creativity, technological development, research and development, and on a greater ability to respond more efficiently and more quickly to market requirements; the sector must also noticeably improve the level of vocational and continuous training. This implies that whenever necessary, our companies should favour investments in countries that are compatible with sustainable development in Europe. Considering that the average hourly wage cost in the 15-nation EU is around 15 euros, compared to the 45 cents in India, 40 cents in China and 25 cents in Bangladesh, it is obvious that competitiveness in European TCL sectors cannot be based on wages. Because of the difference in costs no price-oriented competitiveness strategy can win against emerging countries. Companies have a special responsibility to seek such non-wage cost competitiveness.
Our sectors cannot be those with the lowest wages in the industry: in addition to the fact that low wages reflect a negative corporate policy which hinders efforts needed to improve labour productivity and product quality, the attractiveness of the sector is at stake here, in particular with regard to young people.