Some 80% of the world’s toys are manufactured in China. (ČTK)

Prague, Dec 15 (CTK) – The Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) organisation, based in Hong Kong, and its Czech partner NaZemi group yesterday presented their campaign against violation of labour rights of Chinese workers making toys for the world’s biggest toy companies.

The organisers of the campaign pointed out that buyers have no chance to show that they are against the bad working conditions by the selection of toys they buy. The organisers therefore call on the buyers to join their campaign on their website.

Some 80 percent of the world toy production comes from China. According to SACOM, the lower production costs are achieved by too long working hours and compulsory overtime work, low salaries and their belated payment.

Debby Chan, from SACOM, said Chinese toy workers are forced to work up to 140 hours overtime a month at the peak of the production season. Their life is nothing else than work and sleep, she added.

Yang Yu, who worked in Chinese toy and electronics factories for five years, said she had to work up to 12 hours a day and six days a week.

She said many of the factory workers came from faraway villages and they can visit their families only once a year during Chinese New Year.

Yang Yu said living and hygienic conditions were very bad. She shared a room with eight other workers and sometimes she had to wait an hour after her work ended to be able to wash, she said.

Her salary was so low that she could only pay for accommodation and food. During the top production season, she earned more money thanks to many overtime hours of work, Yang Yu said.

SACOM pointed to the risks workers face in the toy factories: they use glue, dyes, solvents and other dangerous substances without any protective equipment. Moreover, they may get injured while melting plastics.

If workers have disputes with the employer, there are no trade unions or other groups to back them and hazing at work is quite often, SACOM says.

SACOM has been monitoring working conditions in Chinese toy factories since 2005. Several months ago, SACOM checked three factories that are suppliers to Disney, Lego, McDonald’s and other global companies and concluded that all the factories violated fundamental labour rights in spite of being certified by ICTI CARE, a toy industry’s ethical manufacturing program.