Chinese factory workers producing toys for major brands like Mattel, Hasbro, and Disney continue to work in grueling conditions, according to a recently published report by the nonprofit China Labor Watch, in collaboration with NGO Solidar Suisse.
Some workers have committed suicide amid work pressure, the report said. While China Labor Watch was investigating the Early Light Toy Factory in Shaoguan City, Guangdong Province, which manufactures toys, clothing, and travel accessories for major brands like Big Lots, Hasbro, Mattel, Costco, and Wal-Mart, two workers jumped from buildings. The organization reports the case of Yang Zongfang, 38, who was fired after violating a factory rule forbidding workers from allowing other people to use their entry card, and Lin Jinhua, 34, who tried to end his life after verbal abuse by a manager.
“China Labor Watch has been investigating working conditions in toy factories since 1999 and for over 18 years, this kind of tragedy has been constantly occurring,” the report read. China Labor Watch says the employees often work in dangerous conditions and are not well-trained.
The group says, “the average working hours in these four factories are 11 hours a day, with more than 50 overtime hours a month.” Overtime is time worked in addition to regular working hours. The group said overtime totals were as high as 130 hours in some factories.
The group said its information came from people who worked at the factories. These workers were secretly gathering information for the group at what researchers call “relatively well-managed” factories.
Though the factories follow labor laws requiring that laborers work no more than eight hours a day, China Labor Watch found that many workers chose to work overtime in order to achieve production targets, as without overtime pay, most would only make the base wage, of about $250 a month.
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