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Issue # 1402      11 March 2009

Union asks Rafter to give Pacific Brands a serve

In the next stage of its campaign to save the jobs of Pacific Brands’ workers, the Textile Clothing & Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) has released an open letter, launched an email campaign and announced protest rallies.

The TCFUA has released an open letter to Bonds’ ambassadors Pat Rafter, Sarah Murdoch and Michael Clarke calling on the celebrities to urge the company to reverse its decision and to publicly disassociate themselves from Pacific Brands until it does not.

Pacific Brands has announced that it would cease manufacturing in Australia, slashing 1,850 jobs across the country. It later emerged that in the lead up to the job cuts, executives and directors of the company had received large pay increases. The company has also received millions of dollars in government support.

TCFUA national secretary, Michele O’Neil, said that people looked up to the Bonds’ ambassadors and expected them to support Australian jobs and industry.

“This decision by Pacific Brands is a devastating blow to Australian industry, the community, and, of course, our members who have worked loyally for the company, in many cases, for decades. We do not accept that the decision was necessary,’”Ms O’Neil said.

“We are asking Pat, Sarah and Michael to stick up for the workers’ voice and to support our efforts to save these jobs,” O’Neil continued.

Ms O’Neil said the Bonds’ ambassadors were chosen by the company because they are great Australian role models. “Now we need them to step up and save the jobs of their fellow Australians and to support Australian manufacturing.”

The union is hopeful that Rafter, Murdoch and Clarke will respond and support the workers. “The community expects these stars to support Australia so we hold high hopes that they will continue to act as positive role models and work with us to save Pacific Brands’ jobs.”

Open letter to Pat Rafter, Sarah Murdoch, Michael Clarke

Dear Pat, Sarah and Michael,

As you are no doubt aware the employers at Pacific Brands, after being granted millions in Government funding are planning to sack nearly 2,000 of their workforce. Their motive for these sackings appears to be to increase company profits by shifting their manufacturing base overseas. Most of these sacked workers now face long term unemployment.

You are the easily recognisable public faces of this company, advertising iconic Australian brands. You are role models to millions of Australians who identify with you and are influenced by what you say and do.

The brands you advertise will no longer be made by Australians and will no longer be truly Australian brands.

We call on you to do the right thing and, in the interests of fairness and decency:

  • urge Pacific Brands to reverse its decision to sack 1,850 workers;
  • publicly disassociate yourselves from this company and its brands until it does so;
  • urge the government to only fund companies that guarantee Australian jobs and Australian, ethically made products; and
  • call on the government to support the Australian textile, clothing & footwear industry.

We all want to live in a country that makes things. With your help, hopefully we can.

Yours sincerely

Michele O’Neil, National Secretary
on behalf of the Textile, Clothing & Footwear Union of Australia and its members at
Pacific Brands

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