12 December 2006


As Melbourne geared up last month for its biggest race of the year - the Melbourne Cup, several companies who make 'fashions in the field' faced prosecution for alleged breaches of the Federal Clothing Award for their failure to comply with the outworker provisions of the Award.

Up to 300,000 outworkers produce as much as 90% of the clothing sewn in Australia, but receive as little as $3 an hour. This exploitation occurs through a lack of transparency down the clothing supply chain and creates conditions where low wages and poor conditions for outworkers are common.

"Fashion is a fun at this time of the year, but not for outworkers making clothes for slave wages," said Daisy Gardener of the FairWear Campaign. "Whilst a few companies have cleaned up their act, the majority continue to ignore their responsibilities comply with a system designed to protect vulnerable clothing outworkers. Fair Wear calls on companies to do the right thing and become accredited to the Homeworkers Code of Practice", Ms. Gardener continued.

According to a recent Fairwear newsletter the media exposure and pressure of prosecution has meant that many of these companies are now in the process of becoming accredited to the Homeworkers Code of Practice.

Four significant clothing companies: Lush, Rich, Ojay and Scanlan & Theodore continue to resist signing the Code and remain the focus of an ongoing FairWear campaign.

At this time of year when many of us are engaged in shopping for Christmas, the Ethical Shopping Guide which can be downloaded from the Fairwear website, enables the buying of clothing made in Australia from the companies which have signed the Homeworkers Code of Practice.

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