- An investigation into Chinese toy factories has alleged that companies in major supply chains are mistreating their workers.
- Workers producing products for Hasbro, Mattel and Disney were being subjected to ‘serious violations,’ the report claimed.
- Violations included poor pay, forced overtime and unsafe workspaces.
Chinese factory workers producing toys for Hasbro, Disney, Lego and Mattel and are being subjected to “nightmare” working conditions in the run-up to Christmas, an investigation has alleged.
The report, titled “A Nightmare for Workers,” shows findings from campaign groups China Labor Watch, ActionAid, CiR, and Solidar Suisse, who sent undercover investigators to four factories that produced toys sold at Walmart, Costco, Target and other international retailers.
Four factories were investigated between April and September this year.
Investigators found there were serious violations at the factories which were endangering workers.
In peak production season, employees were working up to 175 overtime hours per month. Chinese labour law restricts monthly overtime to 36 hours per month, but the report alleged factories would often ask local governments to implement a “comprehensive working hour scheme” to override existing legislation.
Workers were also not being given the legally required 24-hour safety training before commencing work, meaning they were unaware of how to protect themselves from toxic chemicals. The investigation also showed that employers were failing to provide them with the necessary safety equipment to prevent contact with those chemicals.
According to Solidar Suisse, workers often handled chemicals such as benzene, which has been linked to poisoning and leukaemia.
Investigators also found that workers were being forced to sign blank employment contracts and were provided with poor living quarters, which often housed eight people in one room with unsanitary facilities and no hot water.