Saturday, March 18, 2006
Play fair Australia and pay fair
Last week union for Australia's clothes makers launched Federal Court action against 27 companies accused of exploitation, as anti-sweatshop protesters rallied outside a Melbourne Fashion Week event. The Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) alleges the clothes companies are breaching laws designed to prevent exploitation of outworkers, garment makers who work in their homes. About 300,000 outworkers were employed in Australia's textile industry and paid as little as $3 per hour. This is in a breach of the Clothing Trades Award according to TCFUA state secretary Michele O'Neil and his union wants to bring this to the attention to the general public. The factories and companies which produce clothes for the fashion houses are accused of having gaps in their records with many unwilling or unable to show who the companies were sub-contracting work to and what these people were paid. Whilst there is every intention to support the Australian fashion industry this must not be at the expense of exploited workers.