The European Footwear Industry

A handicrafted and yet a contemporary industry...

...full of creativity and design...

...a key part of the fashion industry...

...a key part of the fashion industry...

...constantly adapting to new trends and demographics through advanced techonologies...

...concerned about safety...

...durability and high standards...

...ensuring consumer’s health and comfort...

...respecting the environment...

...delighting consumers with innovative business approaches...

...and always looking ahead and towards differentiation.

Social Dialogue


Present and future of the European Footwear Social Dialogue

30th March 2015 

Paris – The final conference of the European project “Developing Social Dialogue in the European Footwear Sector”, jointly organized by the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC) and industriAll European Trade Union (industriAll Europe) gathered social partners from European Member States in Paris to discuss the state- of-the-art of the sector, and identify new joint initiatives.

CEC and industriAll Europe accompanied by representatives of national employers’ and workers’ organisations, and supported by a representative of the European Commission, DG for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, met in Paris on the 27th March 2015 to present the results of one year activities carried out under the project “Developing social dialogue in the European Footwear Sector”, co-funded by the European Commission.

The results of the activities and data collected along the project were disclosed in a study report, soon available in several European languages. The book describes the existing structures and legal framework of the social dialogue at national level, with focus on Italy, France, Portugal, Spain and Romania, the main players in terms of production and employment, which also shared their joint initiatives in terms of training and education in their respective countries.

In terms of statistics collected, the social partners underlined the general positive evolution in terms of employment with no drastic jobs losses despite the economic crisis, and the more encouraging figures on production with an increase of 11% in number of pairs and 25% in value between 2009 and 2013. In the same period, a particular success story relates to exports to third countries (mainly represented by EEUU, Switzerland, Russia and Honk-Kong), which have increased by 46% in number of pairs and 73% in value.

These positive results lead the participants to focus on the most urgent priorities for the sector, which should concentrate on attracting young generations to the industry, addressing skills mismatches and creating a level playing field in international trade that guarantees the respect of social and environmental standards.

The European social dialogue will continue bringing tangible results to the footwear sector, and, in this relation, the intense debate concluded with the presentation of a potential joint action at European level focused on attracting young people to the sector while revitalising the image and values of the sector leaded by handcraftsmanship, tradition, heritage and “savoir faire".



The Social Dialogue brings EU social partners to assess the priorities of action in the European footwear sector

17th December 2014 

Brussels – In the framework of the European project “Developing social dialogue in the European Footwear Sector”, the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC) and industriAll European Trade Union (industriAll Europe) held a fruitful workshop in Brussels, which resulted on concrete policy recommendations and new project ideas to reinforce the footwear sector in Europe.

National associations and trade unions, respective Members of CEC and industriAll Europe, accompanied by the European Commission, DG EMPL, met at a workshop in Brussels to discuss and identify the most urgent actions needed to support the growth and competitiveness of the European footwear sector.

Following the presentation of footwear statistics clearly illustrating the excellent achievements of European footwear exports to third countries, social partners analysed the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of European footwear.

Participants stressed the good reputation of European footwear in terms of high quality and distinctive products thanks to the technical knowledge and know-how of the workforce. However such expertise required continuous investment on skills development, and in this field the collaboration between companies and educational centres needed to be reinforced as well as between educational institutions in Europe, in order to reduce existing mismatches, and fulfil job vacancies, in particular at technical level.

In this relation, all presents agreed that the lack of attractiveness to work in the sector together with the lack of access to finance for SMEs remained the major threats for a sustainable development of the industry in Europe. There were clear opportunities for the sector’s growth like an ageing population providing for new niche markets; the consumer requests for customised products, contributing to bring production back to Europe, and last but not least the e-commerce, a low cost retail channel reaching worldwide. The approval of the mandatory origin marking on consumer products, currently under discussion, would support the international recognition of the European footwear.

The social partners concluded with the decision of launching an immediate campaign with concrete joint actions like Open Days, orientation sessions, to attract your generations to the sector in collaboration with educational centres. Of particular relevance for the success would be the support from public authorities and from specialised media.

The workshop conclusions and recommendations will be part of a project report to be presented in the Project Final Conference to be held on Friday 27th March in Paris. All footwear stakeholders are invited to participate, and can already send their details for registration to .



Re-launch of the Footwear Social Dialogue at European level

28th November 2013

Brussels –On the 28th November 2013, Members of the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC) and of the IndustriAll European Trade Union (industriAll Europe) met in the centre of Brussels to re-launch the social dialogue in the footwear sector at European level.

Representatives of CEC and industriAll Europe together with their respective Members from France, Finland, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom attended the Plenary Meeting of the Footwear Social Dialogue after four years at a standstill.

The event, chaired by the European Commission, allowed the social partners to share their first views on three specific topics relevant to the European footwear, which were presented by respective Commission representatives: the existing tariff and non-tariff barriers to strategic markets like Brazil, China, Japan and Russia; the education opportunities under the new “Erasmus +” Programme, and the options for SMEs to access to finance in the next financial period.

The parties also discussed and approved the Social Dialogue Work Programme 2014 that will begin by analysing the existing national Social Dialogue structures, and by promoting activities addressing skills needs and job opportunities as a first priority.

The meeting represents an historical moment for the footwear social dialogue at European level, and the social partners showed their commitment for a profitable cooperation that will surely bring remarkable outcomes for the footwear sector.

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