The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Julia Gillard, today announced the launch of the Homeworkers’ Code of Practice Program.
The new program provides $4 million over four years to develop and promote the Homeworkers’ Code of Practice and the ‘No Sweat Shop’ label.
The Homeworkers’ Code of Practice and ‘No Sweat Shop’ label promote ethical Australian manufacturers and designers and assist consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.
The new program will be administered by the Homeworkers’ Code Committee. The committee has representatives from the major stakeholders in the textile industry, including employer, union and community organisations.
The Rudd Government’s Homeworkers’ Code of Practice Program is an important step in ensuring that Australian homeworkers are not at risk of exploitation and enjoy a better future.
It has been estimated that there are currently around 330,000 homeworkers in the Textile, Clothing and Footwear (TCF) industry and it is further estimated that many of those earn less than $4 an hour and work up to seven days a week.
This new Homeworkers’ Code of Practice Program will help raise public awareness and improve the working conditions of homeworkers in the TCF industry to ensure that minimum legal wages and standards are met.
As part of its national approach to industrial relations, the Rudd Government will work with the states and territories to ensure that all TCF homeworkers across Australia are properly protected through a safety-net of legislation and relevant award conditions.
This program complements the recently announced review of the TCF Industry. The review will aim to develop practical and effective strategies to ensure Australia's TCF industry enjoys a vibrant, innovative and competitive future and fairness for its workers.