Ethics of the Textile Industry

Topics: Wage, Ethics, Australia Pages: 6 (1463 words) Published: August 19, 2013
The textile industry faces many ethical issues; unfortunately the outworking industry is a growing problem in the fashion world which often goes unheard of. While outworkers are facing poverty, Australian teenage fashion consumers are oblivious to this extreme ethical issue. Young people should be addressing the outworking industry in Australia in an attempt to improve the current and future economical and ethical situations. This essay will investigate the working conditions of outworkers, the amount of knowledge young Australians have about outworkers, the effect of the outworking industry on the wider community and will provide recommendations on how young Australian consumers can improve the situation in the outworking industry. Outworkers live in disgusting, unhygienic living conditions because of their incredibly low income, while Australian teenagers are oblivious to this and the story of the person behind the machine who has made their clothing. A sweatshop is a manufacturing facility where workers endure poor working conditions, long hours, low wages and other violations of labor rights (Oxfam, 2012). Sportswear brand Nike illegally forced people in Vietnam to work 65 hours per week, for 15cents per hour, Nike publicly denies violating the legal minimum wage of $45 per month, but their own secret studies prove otherwise, as do pay stubs. Nike’s Dartmouth study naively trusts factory managers instead of examining pay stubs (Lormand, E, 2012). A survey conducted at Carmel College Thornlands revealed that students were shocked about the low wage of outworkers; while 2 out of 3 teenagers were concerned about outworkers (Refer to Appendix A) 3 out of 3 teenagers would still buy products from Nike knowing the poor income outworkers receive. It is possible that Australian teenagers do not realized how lucky they are, immigrants Katheran and Tina Tran have been outworkers since they were ten, at the moment they go to school during the day and spend all night sewing clothes for the Victorian fashion industry, they are paid as little as $0.30 per garment that takes 20 minutes to construct, these girls have to work twice as hard to get what every other stereotypical Australian teenager receives. The Tran sister’s story is only one of a million teenage outworker’s stories that can go unheard, teenagers should be more considerate and pay attention to where their clothing items are coming from as this information can have a large impact on the wider community(Walker, K. 2011). While the outworking business within Australia has been able to provide people with jobs, these jobs are not stable and the wider community is concerned with the possible economical and ethical implications. Outworkers in south eastern Melbourne, Brunswick and surrounding areas in inner northern Melbourne are very sceptical as to how the new legislation ‘ the bill’ law can protect them, especially when it comes to a standard pay rate, these workers are scared if the law interferes their wage may even be decreased to a lower income (Outworkers Speak Out, 2012). If the law was to make manufactures increase the wage given to outworkers this could cause the problem of manufactures going overseas to find cheaper outworkers and possibly causing the 800, 000 Australian outworkers to face unemployment. People outside of the outworking industry have shown their concern, Mr Ong, president of Springvale Asian Business Association, expressed grave concern that manufacturers may be put under a lot of pressure. He believes that the industry should be protected and fashion houses should be more accountable for their costing. Most outworkers fear that the introduction of new law may affect their lives. Sewing has been their only job for most of them, they do not feel pressured however, all they ask for is protection and to be treated like any other working Australian citizen (Outworkers Speak Out, 2012). Teenagers are involved in this issue because all the consumers...

Bibliography: 1. "Code stitched up for outworkers." Australian [Sydney, Australia] 10 Oct. 2002: 5. Global Issues In Context. Web. 14 Feb. 2012
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3. Evans, R. (2002). Outworkers take corporate Australia to court. Available: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/26560. Last accessed 23
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7. "School by day, sewing by night for 30c a job - THE EMPLOYEES." Australian [Sydney, Australia] 20 Nov. 2000: 4. Global Issues In Context. Web. 23 Feb. 2012.
8. Unknown. (2011). Are your clothes made in sweatshops?. Available: http://www.oxfam.org.au/explore/workers-rights/are-your-clothes-made-in-sweatshops. Last accessed 23rd Feb 2012.
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