Home / EU Social Dialogue / Sectoral ESD / Footwear


Workers’ representatives

European Trade Union Federation: Textiles, Clothing and Leather (ETUF:TCL) (1975) (now: IndustriALL – European Trade Union)

Employers’ representatives

European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC) (1959)

Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee (SSDC)

Informal working group:

1991 (Joint Committee established in 1982)



Rules of procedure:


Work programme:

2005 - 2006

General overview

The footwear sector, a highly labour-intensive sector consisting of numerous SMEs, is faced with a series of challenges connected with the liberalisation of world trade. For several years now, these challenges have taken the form of restructuring operations, falling employment and transfers of production, but also the need to improve Europe’s competitive edge.

Participants and challenges

Since the footwear sector is heavily exposed to international competition, one recurring topic of its sectoral social dialogue – which brings together the European Trade Union Federation: Textiles, Clothing and Leather (ETUF:TCL) for the workers, and the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC) for the employers – is combating “unfair” competition from third countries, particularly those where practices such as forced labour by prisoners and the employment of children still exist, and where trade union rights are not recognised.


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.

Joint texts

The “footwear” sectoral social dialogue has resulted, since 1993, in the adoption of 14 joint texts.

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