Dream toys for kids, nightmares for workers

Chinese Labor Watch have released the findings of their investigation into the toy industry, coming to the conclusion that “appalling conditions in toy factories persist”.

The report found that workers are facing peak season overtime of 80-175 hours a month, are in contact with dangerous chemicals and are paid wages that are barely enough to live on. Toys made by these workers are produced for some of the biggest toy brands in the world, including Hasbro, Disney, Lego and Ravensburger, among others.

The findings of the report came from undercover investigators working in four factories between April and September 2018. These investigators discovered 23 worker rights violations. The most severe of these include a lack of pre-job safety training, the signing of blank contracts, poor living conditions (including 8 workers to a room and cold showers) and a lack of independent unions representing worker interest.  

When faced with the question of why these violations continue, the answer was discovered to be threefold:

  1. Price pressure by multinational companies

  2. Repression against workers, a competitive advantage

  3. Recurring violations of applicable law

The report conclusion calls upon toy companies who source from these factories to “make a genuine commitment to improving working conditions, and address the rampant rights violations in the toy industry.”

Click here for the full report.

Sonja Duncan