People’s meeting in Sofia

On October 6th 2015 GERT organized in Sofia a meeting to discuss the involvement of different stakeholders in the formulation of the EU development and trade policy in order to eradicate poverty and promote human rights with a specific focus on the leather and shoes production, the conditions of work and the risks related to the use of chemicals.

The meeting was attended by 80 stakeholders, including governmental officials, experts from the leather and shoes industry, trade-unionists, NGOs representatives, teachers, university professors and students, citizens and consumers.
The discussion meeting was facilitated by a journalist from the national TV – Adelina Radeva and led by Jivka Marinova from GERT. Background presentations form experts from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from the national leather industry, the Commission for protection of consumers’ rights and GERT set the scene for a fruitful discussion in 10 roundtables.
The participants discussed the role of the EU in defining the development and trade policy to promote workers’ and human rights and the role of consumers in pressuring the big companies to comply with regulations on safety, labor rights and human rights of workers in the global leather and shoes supply chains.
The participants came-up with concrete proposals in the field of labeling and standardization of leather products such as explicit statement that the product complies with all the standards on consumers’ safety and producers’ safety and human rights.

The meeting ended with a panel discussion among representatives of trade-unions, governmental officials, NGO activists and citizens.

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