Bishop stands up for exploited outworkers
Australian Catholic Social Justice Council Chairman Bishop William Brennan told a rally outside NSW Parliament House last week that all Australians must be shocked at the working conditions endured by outworkers.
The occasion was the 'Fair Wear' rally, organised to draw attention to the treatment of outworkers - those people, mainly women, contracted to sew clothing at home and paid piece rates.
The Catholic Weekly reports that, because of the quick turnaround required, other family members, including children, often help them. They can work a 12-14 hour days and are paid as little as $2-3 an hour.
"It is a blot upon our national character," said Bishop Brennan. "Here we are celebrating the centenary of our federation, the formation of our nation, a nation that has always prided itself on offering a 'fair go' to all and yet some of our weakest and most defenceless members are denied basic wage justice."
"We need all fair-minded people to protest about the situation, to make their feelings known to parliament arians, and to the suppliers and manufacturers of the garments."
Fair Wear campaigners want legislation put in place to ensure proper award wages and conditions are paid to contractors and that consumers understand under what conditions their clothes are produced.