Skills shortage and international trade focus for European footwear makers

France
Published:  02 April, 2015

The final conference of the European project “Developing Social Dialogue in the European Footwear Sector”, jointly organised by the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC) and industriAll European Trade Union gathered partners from European Member States in Paris to discuss 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 March 27, 2015 to present the results of one year activities carried out under the European project “Developing social dialogue in the European Footwear Sector”.

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 levels, with a 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 partners underlined the generally positive employment levels with no drastic jobs losses despite the economic crisis. Figures on European footwear production showed an increase of 11% in number of pairs and 25% in value between 2009 and 2013. In the same period, exports to third countries (mainly represented by U.S, Switzerland, Russia and Hong-Kong), which have increased by 46% in number of pairs and 73% in value.

Paris meeting

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

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