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Life of Aust fashion brand workers exposed

Garment worker and mum Tania often cries alone when she isn't busy making clothes for Australian fashion brands.

She is one of hundreds of garment workers in Bangladesh and Vietnam whose daily suffering has been revealed in the first in-depth exploration of their lives in a new report.
"The findings are shocking and the case studies harrowing," says Oxfam chief executive Dr Helen Szoke.
"Systemic exploitation" of workers has been enabled by Australian companies, whose buying practices compel factory operators to reduce cost of production, the report reveals.

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These buying practices include fierce price negotiation, short-term contracts with factories, and reducing delivery times at one end while imposing fines for not meeting those squeezed deadlines.
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The majority survive on pulses, rice and potatoes, sometimes eating a mix of old, fermented rice with chilli to feel fuller throughout the day.
In Vietnam, wages are comparatively higher, yet seven out of 10 said their pay was not enough to meet their needs.

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Oxfam' has labelled the findings an indictment on the fashion industry, which turned over $23 billion in Australia last year.
"Brands are responsible for making credible commitments to ensure the payment of living wages to the workers making their clothes," Dr Szoke said.
A previous Oxfam report, released in 2017, found paying living wages would add just one per cent on average to the retail price of a piece of clothing.
Brands that have failed to do so include Myer, Best and Less, Bonds, Country Road, Forever New and Peter Alexander.
© AAP 2020

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