Photo: Nicola Bailey/ActionAid Photo: Nicola Bailey/ActionAid

Workers’ rights

Workers in developing countries have a raw deal. They’re paid minimal wages and are often forced to work long hours in harsh – often dangerous – conditions.

Yet, they’re producing some of the world’s most expensive and coveted brands.

Garment workers in Asia endure long hours in sweatshop-like conditions — for approximately US $3 a day — and struggle to feed and clothe themselves and their families. What’s worse, the buildings and factories where they work are often incredibly unsafe. Workers are risking their lives just to make our clothes.

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We’re working hard to ensure that the big Australian brands like Just Jeans (the Just Group) and Bonds (Pacific Brands) treat their workers with respect and provide them with safe and fair working conditions.

How are we doing this?

By making companies accountable.

Since the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza building in April 2013, Oxfam has been demanding that companies sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord. The accord is an independent agreement designed to make all garment factories in Bangladesh safe workplaces.

Since 2013 more than 160 companies have signed onto the accord including Australian companies Cotton On, Kmart, Target, Forever New, Specialty Fashion Group, Woolworths, Pacific Brands and Pretty Girl Fashion Group.

Best & Less and The Just Group — owner of popular brands Just Jeans and Jay Jays — have still not signed the Accord.

Many companies now need to go further than signing the accord and publish the names and address of all supplier factories. This will allow independent groups to visit factory sites and support workers in their campaigns for improved conditions. Garment companies need to ensure that all workers making their products receive a living wage and that they are free to join a union and collectively bargain in the workplace.

You can help by taking action with us.

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