Fairwear anti-sweatshop carols – 19 December

On the eleventh day of shopping, my true love bought for me,
tax breaks for sweatshops, workers without unions, sexual
harassment, cancer-causing fumes, twelve-hour days,
six cents and hour,
pre-sweated pants, slave labour shoes, toys made by kids,
all gifts made in sweatshops right here.

Banner and choir - Wage Justice for Outworkers

On the steps of the GPO

As in previous years, the FairWear anti-sweatshop campaign took its Christmas sweat-free carols to town, visiting this year fashion retailer Rich, one of far too many who have so far refused to sign up to the Homeworkers Code of Practice …

After a quick rehearsal in the Mall, the ‘choir’ made its way into the up-market shopping mall that has replaced the old Post Office in Melbourne’s landmark GPO building and lined up in front of the fashion display for a rendering of modified version of three well-known carols – Jingle Bells (Sweatshop workers all deserve/their Christmas bonus pay – HEY!), God Rest Ye Weary Laborers (Oh tidings of justice and rights/ human rights, Oh tidings of justice and rights!), and the classic Twelve Days of Sweat Shopping (On the eleventh day of shopping, my true love bought for me,/ tax breaks for sweatshops, workers without unions, sexual/harassment, cancer-causing fumes, twelve-hour days,/six cents an hour,/RAM-PANT COR-PORATE GREED!/pre-sweated pants, slave labour shoes, toys made by kids,/all gifts made in sweatshops right here).

The performance was then repeated on the steps outside, much to the fascination of the crowds waiting to view the Myer windows…

the choir in the old GPO foyer

In front of the fashion display at Rich

Media release from Fairwear, 19th December 2006:

Christmas Carols Action outside RICH

Singing against Sweatshops: Christmas Carols target fashion company

While shoppers scramble to buy final Christmas presents, outworker supporters, including church and union members, will sing carols at the GPO building today to highlight the plight of home and sweatshop workers in Australia.
Singing re-worked classics with titles like ‘The Twelve Days of Sweat Shopping’, ‘God Rest Ye Weary Labourers’ activists will sing outside the RICH clothing store to highlight the failure of the company to ensure fair working conditions for outworkers. RICH is among 11 companies who are being taken to the Federal Court by the TCFUA for alleged breaches of outworker provisions in the Federal Clothing Award.
Many homeworkers are paid as little as $3 per hour and do not receive entitlements that most Australian workers take for granted like paid holidays and superannuation contributions.
“RICH clothing is ignoring their obligations and outworker rights by refusing to become accredited to the Homeworkers Code of Practice. Without the transparency that this Code affords, Australian shoppers cannot be sure this Christmas that their clothes are not being made under exploitative conditions”, said Daisy Gardener of the FairWear campaign.
“The FairWear ethical shopping guide lists the clothing companies who have done the right thing and become accredited to use the NoSweatshopLabel. These companies (such as Qualitops, Hunter Gatherer and Collette Dinnigan) deserve our Christmas dollar this year for making an effort to ensure Australian outworkers are given legal wages and conditions.”
Spokesperson for the Uniting Church, Dr. Mark Zirnsak stated, “Church groups from across the denominations have been supportive of the FairWear campaign over many years. The campaign has managed to maintain protections at the State and Commonwealth levels, but for things to really change fashion houses need to sign up to the Homeworkers Code of Practice so that shoppers can buy ethically at Christmas, or any time for that matter”.
“FairWear will continue to put pressure on fashion labels that refuse to be accountable to their workers. We will continue to ‘name and shame’ companies until this industry becomes an ethical one”, Ms Gardener concluded.