Ornamental crosses, religious statues and plastic balls with ‘Jesus loves you’ printed on them came under scrutiny at the UCA Synod meeting this week.
Antony McMullen of the Synod’s justice and international mission unit proposed that the meeting urge Australian and multinational enterprises dealing in Christian goods to commit to sourcing or producing only items made in ways that are consistent with a Christian understanding of human dignity.
The proposal was approved by consensus.
Mr McMullen referred to a 2007 report by the US National Labor Committee which found crosses were being manufactured in a Chinese sweatshop where conditions were appalling.
The factory employed girls as young as 15. Workers worked more than 100 hours a week, received no paid sick leave, no paid maternity leave, no paid holidays and no health insurance, all of which are required under Chinese labour laws. Workers were paid as little as thirty cents an hour, just over half China’s legal minimum wage.
The Australian market in Christian goods is linked to the US market.
The Synod meeting also resolved to urge support for the World Fair Trade Organisation and encourage purchase of products made by Fair Trader members of the WFTO; and to support and encourage the purchase of products that comply with the Fairtrade certification and labelling system.