In 2002, outworkers in the clothing industry were being appallingly exploited. 90% of the workers were women earning $2-5 per hour. They worked a 12-16 hour day, often in unsafe conditions.
With out support, the Fairwear project provided migrant women outworkers with a unique way to find their voice. Through radio training and a program on 3CR to educate other outworkers about their rights, this program empowered them to seize an active role in Government policy review and implementation.
As a result of this grant, in 2003 the Victorian Government passed the Outworkers (Improved Protection) Act, increasing the entitlements of outworkers, providing minimum employment conditions, and pioneering a money recovery process. In 2005 an Amendment to the Act was passed, to ensure outworkers’ access to minimum award wages and conditions as set out in the Clothing Trades Award 1999.
“Outworkers often lead very isolated lives, working extremely long hours at home […] we hoped to create networks, communication and ultimately avenues [of] change for these women workers.”