Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Launch of clothing industry information campaign.



Download WordDownload Word

image

 

THE HON PETER REITH MP

MINISTER FOR WORKPLACE RELATIONS AND SMALL BUSINESS

LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

PARLIAMENT HOUSE

CANBERRA ACT 2600

 

 

18 June 1998

76/98

 

LAUNCH OF CLOTHING INDUSTRY INFORMATION CAMPAIGN

 

The Federal Government is takin g positive steps to improve workplace relations in the clothing industry by launching a national campaign to assist manufacturers and outworkers in understanding their rights, responsibilities and opportunities under the Clothing Trades Award and the Workplace Relations Act 1996 .

 

The clothing industry makes a major contribution to the national economy with over $9 billion annual turnover and more than 75,000 full-time employees. The industry is dominated by workplaces with less than 100 employees. In addition, the industry employs a large number of outworkers.

 

Outworkers are mainly women of non-English speaking backgrounds who sew, finish or press work in their own homes. The problems faced by outworkers are well documented and are the result of a combination of factors located both in the individual, their circumstances and the broader industry.

 

The Workplace Relations Act provides strong penalties for non-compliance with awards and allows awards to contain provisions protecting outworkers pay and conditions. In addition, the Department of Workplace Relations and Small Business maintains a free and confidential advisory service which any person can contact for advice regarding wages and conditions.

 

However, it is clear that the clothing industry needs more direct assistance and information on workplace relations issues. The Federal Government’s national campaign will meet this need.

 

The campaign will be jointly conducted by the Office of the Employment Advocate (OEA) and the Department of Workplace Relations and Small Business. The OEA’s involvement in the campaign further demonstrates the valuable assistance it is providing to both employees and employers (especially small business) about their rights and obligations under the Workplace Relations Act. Through the campaign, the OEA is also meeting its statutory obligation to have particular regard to the needs of workers in a disadvantaged bargaining position.

 

The campaign will run for approximately 3 months. Seminars have already been held for community groups to outline the campaign’s activities and provide these organisations with information for dissemination to outworkers, their families and friends.

 

Seminars will be held for clothing manufacturers in Melbourne and Sydney in late June/early July. The seminars are complemented by a handbook that provides practical and plain English workplace relations information and advice on occupational health and safety issues (OHS) including how to improve OHS outcomes. Following this, the Department’s Office of Workplace Services will undertake a targeted compliance program to ensure that businesses are complying with and fully understand the requirements of the award and the Workplace Relations Act.

 

A national phone line (1300 369 649) is the main vehicle for direct contact with outworkers. Bilingual staff will provide general information on award entitlements and agreement making and will provide a referral service to other organisations such as the Tax Office, Centrelink and the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs. The phone line will operate for approximately eight weeks. A series of English and non-English information material will also be available to outworkers through the help line and from a range of community centres.

 

The campaign has been developed and refined in extensive consultations with manufacturers, retailers and key representatives of the non-English speaking community. I am confident that this cooperation, together with continued industry and community support will ensure that the Federal Government’s campaign works and works well.

 

 

For further information contact: Ian Hanke (0419) 484095

 

 

 

 

gb