Since 2010, Chinese manufacturing workers have been under the spotlight of international media outlets in their series of collective rights defending actions in China. While some of these workers are fighting for a living wage, the majority of the workers are merely calling for basic compliance of laws. SACOM’s recent research reveals that labour rights are violated in almost every aspect of the toy industry, from wages to working hours, and from contracts to social insurance.

The industrial association, International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI), established the CARE Process to ensure legal compliance and decent working conditions in the toy industries. According to its website, the ICTI CARE Process is supported by 711 toys companies including Mattel, Hasbro, Lego, Disney, and retailers like Wal-mart, Carrefour and Toys “R” Us. There are over 2300 factories engaging in the process and it represents over 1.7 million workers, most of them in China.

Being influential as it is, the ICTI CARE Process has continued to allow violations to take place and become sustainable,[1] and ignore workers demand for compliance with basic labour law requirements. Following the news coverage that the Vice President Ian Anderson admitted in a toy industry seminar in July 2010 that it was common for the foundation to find cases of bribery, underpayment and child labour in factories,[2] SACOM has had several meetings with Mr. Christian Ewert, the CEO of the ICTI CARE Foundation, and Mr. Anderson and has written letters to its governance board to demand more information of the real situation of the toy industry. However, ICTI CARE has not disclosed detailed information and statistics about the violations it has found.

The social audits fail to monitor working conditions in the industry. In effect, the ICTI CARE has become a cover-up scheme for the 711 toy companies supporting it, to manage or shield their ethical problems from public.

Full text of the statement is available here.


[1] SACOM investigated 5 factories which participated in the ICTI CARE Process last summer. Many of them were certified by ICTI tough a host of labour rights violations were found. Please refer to the reports for more details: Shielding Labour Rights Violations in the ICTI Certification Process, 3 February 2011, available at http://sacom.hk/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/20110203_shielding-labour-rights-violations-in-the-icti-certification-system.pdf; and Disney, Walmart & ICTI Together Makes Workers Rights Violations Normal and Sustainable, 22 October 2010, available at http://sacom.hk/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/report-on-disney-walmart-and-icti.pdf.

[2] Denise Tsang, “Corruption threatens safety in toy factories”, South China Morning Post, 10 July 2010.