01.Breaks in the clothing supply chain
The Australian clothing and textiles union, Textiles Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA), is taking 23 clothing companies to court for allegedly breaching laws designed to protect outworkers in Australia.
Under the Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award (TCF Award), brands that manufacture in Australia are legally responsible for their entire supply chain. This means the amount labels pay suppliers has to take into account how much it will cost to make the item of clothing using fairly paid labour the whole way down the supply chain.
Outworkers – predominantly migrant women – often work from home and are at the end of a long and complex supply chain and account for a large chunk of Australian clothing and footwear manufacture. The union is alleging that the brands have failed to comply with their legal obligations under the TCF Award and/or the Clothing Trades Award.
TCFUA’s lawyer, Kath Fawcett, said the laws that have allegedly been breached are designed to make supply chains more transparent.
“When companies do not comply with these obligations, there is no way of ensuring that outworkers at the end of these contracting chains receive their legal minimum wages and conditions,” Fawcett said.
The TCFUA has previously taken 170 other companies to court for failing to abide by the minimum legal standards.
The companies accused of breaching the laws are Anna Thomas, Arthur Galan, Cubec, Digby’s, Drizabone, Fella Hamilton, Kamikaze, Kea Sports, Mariana Hardwick, Mesop, Motto, Mr Fleecy, My Size, Nevenka, Nicholas, Ripe Maternity, Sosume, Styleknit, Uniforms by Design, Verducci, Very Very, Viktoria & Woods and Warwick Jones.
CHOICE investigated ethical clothing in Australia and overseas in February this year.