Labour standards & certification

In Australia

  • Clothing Trades Award: Garment wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers have a legal responsibility to comply with the federal Clothing Trades Award (or equivalent state award) (as well as the Workplace Relations Act which defines outworkers as employees, legally entitling them to the same conditions as factory workers). The awards also give the TCFUA (the union) the right to enter workplaces to monitor conditions.
  • Logo ethical clothingEthical Clothing Australia trademark: (previously the No Sweatshop label) By registering with Ethical Clothing Australia, clothing businesses are committing to take certain steps to keep their Australian-based supply chains transparent and ensure that they and any sub-contractors are compliant with the relevant Australian laws. Once compliant, accredited brands are licensed to display the Ethical Clothing Australia trademark on their Australian-made products.

Overseas – ILO Conventions

The labour rights of garment workers differ from country to country and between different areas. Most advocacy groups encourage that companies source from countries and free trade zones where the right to freedom of association has legal force and the core ILO conventions have been ratified and given effect in national law. Companies should also prioritise retaining production in unionised factories. Sourcing from countries and free trade zones where these core labour standards and fundamental rights have been ratified does not guarantee that workers will all be treated fairly in factories. National laws giving effect to these conventions need to be enacted and implemented. However, ratification of these core labour standards is an important step.

Core ILO conventions:

  • Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize, 1948 (No. 87)
  • Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining, 1949 (No.98)ILO_IMG
  • Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)
  • Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105)
  • Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)
  • Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)
  • Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100)
  • Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)

See the ILO database of countries which have ratified the fundamental ILO Conventions. India China and Thailand are countries who are involved in clothing manufacture and have not made these committments .

Overseas: Voluntary Initiatives

  • SA8000: This is a voluntary, universal standard for companies to audit and certify labour practices in their facilities. Certified factories are used by large brands such as Levis and Gap and therefore likely to be regularly audited. SA-Int
  • better-work-logoBetter Work Programme: This program, a partnership between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), is designed to improve labour standards and competitiveness in global supply chains. Better Work
  • fairtradeFairtrade Mark: This registered certification label for products sourced from producers in emerging countries aims to create opportunities for producers and workers who are economically disadvantaged or marginalised by the conventional trading system. Cotton is one of the many products certified by Fairtrade. The benefits of being a Fairtrade cotton producer include: receiving a stable price; receiving an additional Fairtrade premium; educat    ion and assistance with crop diversification, environmental sustainability and safe use of pesticides and chemicals. Fairtrade UK
  • United Nations Global Compact: This is a voluntary initiative to encourage businesses to adopt and report on sustainable and GlobalResearchUNGlobalsocially responsible policies. It seeks to align business operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. UNGC