Talking with Pacific Brands
Oxfam has linked Pacific Brands with local groups in Cambodia where workers are demanding living wages. An Oxfam partner group has released a report highlighting that workers are malnourished because wages are so low in garment factories. Oxfam checked when Pacific Brands was going to follow through on the company’s public commitment and publish it’s supplier factory locations to allow for independent monitoring of worker conditions.
After almost eight months of correspondence and campaigning, Pacific Brands signed onto the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord on 16 December 2013. Oxfam welcomed the move but has urged Pacific Brands to continue to improve conditions by ensuring living wages are paid to workers in Bangladesh and Cambodia. It is important that Pacific Brands reveal the location of its supplier factories worldwide, and ensures living wages and fair conditions for all employees in its supply chain.
In May 2013 Oxfam called on Pacific Brands and other major Australian garment companies to ensure safety in Bangladeshi suppliers. This action came after the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Dhaka, one of the many workplace tragedies to occur in Bangladesh in the last decade. Oxfam asked Pacific Brands to immediately release the details and locations of their suppliers in Bangladesh, to sign and adopt the legally binding Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord and to uphold their responsibilities under the UN Framework for Business and Human Rights.
Read Oxfam Australia’s open letter urging Australian garment companies to ensure safety in Bangladeshi suppliers.
Oxfam Australia met with Pacific Brands to discuss the company’s labour rights program. Oxfam explained its concern for the rights of workers making Pacific Brands’ products and discussed ways that Pacific Brands might provide greater transparency of their supply chains; including releasing information about the location of supplier factories as well as auditing processes and reports. Pacific Brands restated their commitment to attaining the highest standards in the ethical, responsible and sustainable conduct of their business.
Following the meeting, Pacific Brands said it would “consider providing greater transparency about our supplier profiles, including information about the issues we are identifying during audits.” However Pacific Brands has said it will not release the names and addresses of its suppliers.
On a more positive note, Pacific Brands committed to a continuing dialogue around living wages for the workers making its products.
Oxfam Australia’s Executive Director Andrew Hewett wrote to Pacific Brands CEO Sue Morphet asking for an opportunity to meet and discuss Pacific Brands’ labour rights program. Attached to this correspondence were more than 640 letters from supporters who were concerned about the lack of transparency across Pacific Brands’ international supply chain.
Andrew wrote that the letters “demonstrate a desire among the Australian public to be assured that those who make Pacific Brands’ products do so under decent, humane conditions.”
- Oxfam is keeping a watchful eye on the big brands and encouraging them to do more to uphold workers’ rights. Learn more about our labour rights campaigns.