Navigation path

Sectoral social dialogue - Footwear

Social partners

Workers' organisations Employers' organisations
industriAll European Trade Union European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC)

Social dialogue in the EU footwear sector covers activities defined by NACE (Rev. 2), code 15.2.0 (footwear manufacture).

Employment in this sector varies between 343 000 (Eurostat, 2014 Labour Force Survey) and 290 000 people, depending on how the sector is demarcated. They are employed in about 20 000 companies (Eurostat, 2013 Business Statistics).

Micro and small businesses (under 250 people) account for almost 95% of the sector.

The EU's competitive advantages lie in the high quality of production in technical, design and fashion-related terms and the development of sought-after brands with a strong image.

The footwear sector is being restructured due to the globalisation of markets, deregulation, trade liberalisation and technological change. Company numbers fell rapidly in 2008 and 2009 and less rapidly between 2010 and 2013. Job numbers have not changed substantially between 2011 and 2013, despite Europe's high unemployment rates.

Key areas

The Committee is currently focusing on:

  • re-launch of the social dialogue at EU level
  • skills & qualifications
  • making the sector attractive to the young
  • opening of strategic international markets on a level playing field and other trade developments
  • action plan for fashion & high-end industries
  • EU Flagship initiative on responsible management of the supply chain of the garment sector.

Activities & meetings

Check the library entries for this sectoral social dialogue committee.

Recent achievements

  • February 2015  - Report: 'European Footwear Sector: Structure, Social Dialogue, Future' - on the state of the industry & national systems for dialogue between the 2 sides of industry
  • Adopted 2000, co-signed 2006 by organisations representing the footwear distribution sector: European framework agreement/code of conduct: a charter of the social partners in the footwear sector
  • Joint declaration on adopting origin marking for footwear imported from non-EU countries (2006).