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Tricky Footwork. The Struggle for Labour Rights in the Chinese Footwear Industry

Low wages, involuntary overtime, insufficient protection from health and safety risks – these shortcomings are common in the global footwear supply chain. The present study analyses labour conditions in Chinese supplier factories which produce shoes for several European brands. The analysis of interviews with workers in three footwear factories in Guangdong Province, which have been carried out by SÜDWIND-partner Globalization Monitor at the end of 2015, give an alarming picture of footwear production in China, where state violence to suppress strikes for better labour conditions is not unusual.

The present study is a product of the international campaign Change Your Shoes. Eighteen European and Asian organisations have come together to raise awareness about problems in the production of leather and footwear. Research for the campaign was conducted in China, India, Indonesia, Eastern Europe, Italy and Turkey, with the aim of improving social and environmental conditions in the global leather and footwear industry.

Year of publication: 2016
Article number: 2016-10
Number of pages: 36 pages
Authors: Anton Pieper, Felix Xu