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FairWear welcomes ethical fashion label

November 1, 2011 (Australia)

The FairWear campaign welcomes the launch of the Ethical Clothing Australia consumer campaign Meet Your Maker at Ginger and Smart boutique in Paddington, which will show case the Ethical Clothing Australia label.

FairWear supports the Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA) accreditation and labelling scheme as a key tool for cleaning up the exploitation that is so well documented within the Australian clothing industry, and commends those companies who have taken steps to work with ECA to ensure that workers in their supply chain receive the correct pay and entitlements and that they work in fair and safe conditions.

The Ethical Clothing Australia label provides Consumers with an active way to support Australian Fashion Houses, like Ginger and Smart, which have taken steps to prevent exploitation in their supply chain, by choosing garments with this label.

FairWear is a national coalition of churches, community organisations and unions working to address the exploitation of workers who make clothing at home in our Australian community. As a consumer campaign we encourage consumers to ask for better working conditions for the workers who make their clothes, and for greater consumer choice in ethical clothing. As a workers’ rights campaign we provide education, training and advocacy to clothing outworkers to help them better understand their workplace rights.

Clothing outworkers are generally migrant women with limited English and limited employment options, who work long hours (often 12 to 14 hours a day) for rates of pay as little as $3-$4 an hour. These workers have a right to the same Award pay and conditions that other Australian workers take for granted.

The TCF industry, characterised by long supply chains and outsourcing of most production, has allowed too many bosses to get away with exploiting a hidden workforce in Australia’s cities and suburbs.

The ECA scheme is a voluntary one, administered by a committee of industry representatives. The ECA activity is heavily underpinned by strong legislation and awards, an area in which Australia is a world leader. Maintaining this strong legislative background is essential to the ongoing success of the ECA scheme.

Amity Lynch, the FairWear NSW Campaign Co-ordinator
“Whilst many outworkers are beginning to experience changes to their pay and conditions as a result of improved legal protections and the ECA accreditation scheme, many outworkers are still working extremely long hours for shocking rates of pay, sometimes as low as $4-$5 an hour. There is still more work to be done, and this consumer awareness campaign that ECA is launching is an important part of this work.”

Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) is an international verification initiative dedicated to enhancing workers’ lives all over the world.

Fair Wear Foundation (FWF)
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