19 September 2006
Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews indicated that he is "happy to accept" recommendations of the Senate committee to maintain protections for outworkers. The Bill as it stood substantially undermined outworker protections and threatened their right to the same minimum entitlements as other employees.
In accepting the Senate Committee recommendations the Minister is agreeing to move a series of amendments negotiated between FairWear and the Department for Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR), with the assistance of the Senate Committee and thereby gives hope that the worst of the bill’s impact on outworkers will now be avoided.
The Minister has reiterated his commitment to maintain outworker protections. "Given that governments of all political persuasions have put protections in place for them, and we did in WorkChoices, then we wanted to do the same thing in this legislation.".
Fairwear will now turn its attention to those companies that are still resisting consumer pressure to become ethical retailers in Australia. Despite being asked for well over a year by schools, churches, community groups and consumers to sign the code of practice in relation to outworkers, several companies notably Lush, Ojay, Rich and Scanlan & Theodore have so far refused to do so.
More details about the campaign can be found at the FairWear website.