The Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) has begun court proceedings against companies for violating laws preventing the exploitation of freelance workers. Nearly 23 clothing companies will join the ranks of over 170 others previously taken to court by the TCFUA for failing to abide by minimum legal standards in the clothing industry.
Textile, clothing and footwear freelance workers in Australia, almost uniformly migrant women, labor at home at the end of long and complex supply chains. They are particularly vulnerable to exploitation given the hidden nature of their work and their isolation. Despite their high level of skill, most are forced to work long hours for very low wages.
The law imposes obligations on the whole supply chain to make transparent where work is being done, by whom and under what conditions. TCFUA is fighting for supply chain transparency. Without supply chain transparency, it is impossible to identify sweatshops, how much workers are being paid and whether other labor standards are being complied with. TCFUA wants to ensure that sweat shop workers and freelance workers receive their minimum legal wages and entitlements. It has called on companies to embrace ethical manufacturing of beautiful clothes in Australia.