As Christmas approaches, beware of toys made in China like Mickey Mouse, and Barbie—they’ve probably been manufactured by workers with no labor rights.
According to a 66-page report from China Labor Watch, four toy factories in the southern city of Guangdong made 20 labor violations while producing toys for companies like Disney, Fisher-Price, and Hasbro.
The infringements were recorded using undercover probes and interviews during a six-month period earlier this year. They include lack of workplace safety, unpaid wages and overtime, and no labor contracts.
The rights agency said that many of the violations are the same as those detailed in a 2007 report, and that there has been no progress.
It added that the toy companies take no responsibility for any faults with the products, and that their relationship with the Chinese suppliers does not favor the workers.
In a press release, the agency stated: “… If labor abuse is uncovered in a toy company’s supplier chain, the company may blame the factory or even blame other clients of the factory. If public pressure is too intense, toy companies will claim that the factory failed to respect their code of conduct and, on this basis, end business with the plant.
“In this way, a toy company can make a public show of standing up for workers’ rights while reducing their own risk and costs to their business. Instead of acting with a true sense of responsibility, most major toy companies will use coping and delay tactics when faced with labor violations.
… the companies who manage these factories will push off responsibility for labor violations to others, claiming that it’s an industry problem.