Several Australian fashion brands have found themselves on the ‘bad guy list’ for being transparent about how they treat the workers who make their clothes.
Oxfam has called out fashion brands like Zara and Jeans West for “not committing to transparency by sharing factory locations and benchmark wages for garment workers” in its annual Naughty or Nice list of how brands treat their factory workers.
Consumers are being urged by Oxfam chief executive Lyn Morgain to consider the ranking of brands on the list when determining where to spend their money this Black Friday and Christmas.
The ‘naughtiest’ of those on the list are Zara and Jeans West, while Myer saw his ranking boosted from last year to make him on the ‘beautiful list’.
To make the nice list, brands must commit to conducting a pay gap analysis, which involves calculating the difference between workers’ current wages and living wages, before developing a plan to close the gap. gap, which Morgain says is simple for businesses. do.
A living wage means that enough money is earned in a standard working week to cover a family’s basic needs, including nutritious food, shelter, health care, clothing, transportation, food, etc. energy, water, child care and education, as well as discretionary money and provisions for unexpected events.
“The industry as a whole is not doing well, but that said, small changes between brands have the ability to literally lift women out of poverty,” Ms Morgain said.
Other brands on the nice list include Cotton On, Gorman, Dangerfield, Country Road, Rivers, Noni B, Katies and Millers.
As the cost of living crisis bites into Australians’ wages, Ms Morgain said the impact of rising prices is dire for garment workers.
“The women who make our clothes often work 12 or more hours a day, but since they only earn 58 cents an hour, they cannot afford decent housing, food or health care, let alone save saving for rainy days,” says Morgan.
“The truth is that the difficult global circumstances and the growth of inflation, these are things that we are talking about here at the national level, have had a catastrophic effect whose job it is to produce these garments.
The “prettiest” company on the list was Lorna Jane, which was the only brand to have already completed the pay gap analysis while the others only committed to doing so.
Meanwhile, Best & Less, Big W, Kmart, Target, Modi Bodi, Just Jeans, Peter Alexander, Dotti, Portmans, Jay Jays, Uniqlo and H&M were branded “bad guys” for failing to meet the criteria.
These brands did not sign up to complete the pay gap analysis, with Ms Morgain calling on them to “do better by increasing their transparency and being at the forefront of their progress”.
“We all know that if you want to solve a problem you have to know exactly what it is, that’s why this is an important step on the road to paying a living wage”, a- she declared.
“We want to support brands because that’s how women make a living, but we want to make sure they actually earn a living wage and are able to feed their families and see a doctor if needed. “said Ms Morgain. .
Ms Morgain said there are clear benefits for brands choosing to be transparent about their processes.
“So when they reduce the number of factories and they have a much clearer relationship with suppliers, it is much easier for them to do these measurements. [like the wage gap analysis],” she says.
“But for companies that choose to use multiple factories in various regions, etc., the complexity will obviously increase.
“I think one of the things that is clear from this ongoing research is that there are huge social gains to be made in bringing clarity to these supply chains.”
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