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The main focus of social dialogue in the footwear sector is to shape a socially responsible European brand image, especially via the Charter on the employment of children. In addition, the sectoral social partners take every available opportunity to remind the EU institutions of the structural difficulties confronting their industry.

All the joint texts adopted by the footwear sector take the form of either joint opinions (“lobbying”) or recommendations (“reciprocal commitments”).

It is however worth noting that all the recommendations relate to the Charter on the employment of children: the initial charter has in fact been amended and supplemented on various occasions. Apart from the charter, social dialogue in the sector mainly revolves around topics chosen for targeted lobbying of the Community institutions: employment, the social effects of Community policies, and corporate social responsibility.

The sector’s strategy is fairly straightforward: shaping a socially responsible European brand image, calling for fairness in global trade and urging the EU to take account of the sector’s structural difficulties.

ETUI and Observatoire Social Européen (2010) European Sectoral Social Dialogue Factsheets. Project coordinated by Christophe Degryse, online publication available at www.worker-participation.eu/EU-Social-Dialogue/Sectoral-ESD