Minister for Jobs and Workplace Relations, Senator Chris Evans, today launched Ethical Clothing Australia’s ‘Meet your Maker’ campaign in Sydney.
Senator Evans said the ‘Meet your Maker’ campaign is about raising consumer awareness of the faces behind fashion and ensuring workers in the industry are treated and paid fairly.
The ‘Meet your Maker’ campaign will highlight the issues of substandard pay and conditions experienced by some home-based workers. It will also promote accredited brands to consumers, encouraging people to support companies that treat and pay their workers properly.
“Behind the designers and the people upfront are a number of highly skilled workers who do their important work behind the scenes – the people you don’t see,” Senator Evans said.
“Often when we see ‘Made in Australia’ on the clothes we buy, we assume those people who have worked in the production have been treated fairly and paid a decent wage.
“This is not always the case, especially for home-based workers who are often paid very little per hour and don’t received entitlements such as superannuation or annual leave.”
“How we treat our most vulnerable, such as home-based workers is a reflection of the type of we are society.
“The Gillard Government’s Fair Work Act has improved protection for home-based workers, including enhanced workplace right.
“The latest Textile, Clothing and Footwear and Associated Industries Award also includes entitlements and protections for homeworkers. This includes an obligation for principals to give homeworkers entitlements equivalent to the National Employment Standards.
Senator Evans congratulated Ethical Clothing Australia and manufacturers supporting the campaign for giving a face to these workers and recognising that they need to be treated fairly.
Ethical Clothing Australia is a joint business-union initiative that runs an accreditation and education program designed to help businesses and workers in the textile, clothing and footwear industry, particularly home workers.
“Ethical Clothing Australia is an initiative that will help Australian businesses make sure the workers making their clothing and products are working in decent conditions and being paid fairly, Senator Evans said
Consumers will also be able to look for the Ethical Clothing Australian trademark, or visit the new website www.meetyourmaker.org.au, to identify Australian-made products where everyone who has worked in production has been paid legal rates and conditions.
In 2008 the Australian Government provided a $4 million grant to expand Ethical Clothing Australia’s programs. This year a further grant of $4 million was announced in the Federal Budget to support Ethical Clothing Australia’s ongoing work to protect textile, clothing and footwear workers’ rights.
The launch was hosted by Ginger & Smart Boutique in Paddington.