Sunday, August 28, 2011
China's toys r us
Disney's best-selling Cars toys are being made in a factory in China that uses child labour and forces staff to do three times the amount of overtime allowed by law, according to an investigation. One worker reportedly killed herself after being repeatedly shouted at by bosses. Others cited worries over poisonous chemicals.
The factory, called Sturdy Products, makes toys for the giant Mattel company, which last month announced quarterly profits of £48m on the back of strong sales of Barbie dolls and Cars 2 toys. Sturdy Products, in the city of Shenzhen, also makes toys for US superstore chain Walmart. Among the brands produced are the Thomas the Tank Engine range, Matchbox cars, Cars, Toy Story, Barbie and Fisher Price products, Scrabble and the Hot Wheels sets.
Workers were interviewed away from the factory, and an investigator then spent a month working inside it to gather more information. He found evidence of the use of child labour and illegal working hours, along with concerns over the use of poisonous chemicals.
A Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour spokeswoman said: "Mattel, Walmart and Disney, the renowned toy companies, always claim they strictly comply with local laws and adhere to their respective code of conduct. The rampant violations at Sturdy Products, including excessive overtime, arbitrary wages, unfair punitive fines, child labour and negligence of occupational health, prove that the pledges are empty statements. There is no effective enforcement mechanism and remedies for workers at all."