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International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation (ITGLWF)

Unionisation in the clothing, textile, leather and footwear sectors is in crisis globally.

Affiliates in the developed countries are shrinking rapidly. Most of these unions are focussed either on survival strategies or on being integrated into larger union organisations. In developing countries, the real level of unionisation has not risen and in fact, given the rise of China , true unionisation rates have declined.

SACTWU first Vice President, Violet Seboni, General Secretary, Ebrahim Patel, and Deputy General Secretary, Andre Kriel, are members of the ITGLWF's Executive Committee.

The main resolutions of the ITGLWF adopted at its last congress include calls for

  • a campaign for simplification of trade union recognition and dealing effectively with union recognition breaches;
  • international framework agreements with multi-national companies;
  • increased unionisation in the laundry sector;
  • condemnation of trade in second-hand clothing;
  • affiliates to strengthen their international solidarity work, and related work in international institutions such as the ILO;
  • stepped up HIV/AIDS awareness programmes in affiliates;
  • a critical evaluation of, and the formulation of new guidelines for, engagement in Codes of Conduct;
  • amendments to the constitution so that 50% of the members of the Executive are women, by the next Congress; and
  • condemnation of reactionary labour law reforms in Nigeria .


Following the setting up of an African office, at the initiation of SACTWU, in 2000, a constitutionally-defined African regional structure was launched in 2005.

The Inaugural Congress of the ITGLWF Africa region was held in Johannesburg in August 2005. This congress adopted a new constitution to regulate its affairs, committed itself to aggressively grow trade union membership in the clothing, textile and leather industry in Africa , and elected its leadership. The ITGLWF Africa consists of 58 trade union affiliates in 35 countries with a combined membership of more than 400,000.

The ITGLWF Africa office is in Durban , South Africa .