The union for textile clothing and footwear (TCF) workers, CFMEU Manufacturing has slammed the Morrison Government’s Budget for ignoring vulnerable workers in the female dominated industry.
It is the second year in a row that a pre-budget submission from Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA), a body tackling worker exploitation in TCF supply chains, has been ignored despite the modest request of $6.75 million over three years to support and expand operations.
ECA accreditation ensures that workers in accredited supply chains, including thousands of women from non-English speaking backgrounds, receive their legal pay and entitlements.
ECA’s Commonwealth support was cut in 2014 following Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey’ infamous “Commission of Audit”. Calls for reinstatement of funding continue to fall on deaf ears.
The union will escalate its campaign for support for ECA by mobilising thousands of workers in the industry’s supply chain to lobby political parties for commitments ahead of the next federal election.
“This is a so-called ‘Budget for Women’ that has ignored some of the most vulnerable women workers in the country,” said Ms Jenny Kruschel, TCF National Secretary, CFMEU Manufacturing Division
“A ‘Budget for Women’ can’t actively ignore the wage theft, super theft and appalling conditions of thousands of women.
“Parts of the industry are still underground and characterised by mass exploitation, sweat shops and appalling conditions where wage theft, harassment and poor safety abounds.
“ECA’s call for Government assistance is supported by not just workers and the union, but hundreds of companies and supply chain firms committed to doing the right thing and wanting to promote the accredited and ethical, Australian Made part of the industry.”
The union is disappointed by a lack of commitment to supporting manufacturing jobs in the TCF industry.
“There’s no real commitment to jobs across all TCF sectors. The Government should support the whole supply chain from top to bottom. We need to back Australian Manufacturing, we need sustainable and ethical jobs,” Ms Kruschel said.