Australian brands pay pitiful prices for the garments they source from Bangladesh. They have resisted paying a better price and so raising the wages of the multitudes who paradoxically, make world-class wear for those who can afford to pay more. Readymade garment workers making clothes that are sold across Australia are trapped in a cycle of poverty, no matter how hard they work. Women in Bangladesh and Vietnam making clothes for the Australian fashion industry go hungry because the wages are as low as 51 cents an hour. Paying better prices for readymade garment products can enable workers to have a better life.
Practices by Australian companies are contributing to driving wages down. They undertake fierce price negotiation, often jump between contracts instead of working with factories over the long term, squeeze lead times for orders and operate with a separation between their ethical and standards staff and their buying teams, who negotiate directly with factories.
On an average, just four per cent of the price of a piece of clothing sold in Australia goes towards workers wages. If brands absorb the cost of paying living wages, it would amount to less than one per cent of the garment price.