Looks like there's some explaining to do after a human rights group claims to have uncovered workplace abuses at a Shenzhen factory called Sturdy Products. Among the concerns: Underage workers, the use of poisonous chemicals, and illegal working hours. One worker is said to have killed herself after being repeatedly shouted at by bosses. The factory makes a lot of toys, including those based on the movie "Cars 2." From The Guardian:
The undercover investigation was carried out with the help of human rights group Sacom (Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour), which helped to expose abuses in Apple's Foxconn plant in China this year. Workers were interviewed away from the factory, and an investigator then spent a month working inside it to gather more information. He found evidence of the use of child labour and illegal working hours, along with concerns over the use of poisonous chemicals.
Sacom said that parents should think twice before buying the toys. A spokeswoman said: "Mattel, Walmart and Disney, the renowned toy companies, always claim they strictly comply with local laws and adhere to their respective code of conduct. The rampant violations at Sturdy Products, including excessive overtime, arbitrary wages, unfair punitive fines, child labour and negligence of occupational health, prove that the pledges are empty statements. There is no effective enforcement mechanism and remedies for workers at all."
A toy industry group took issue with the findings, calling them "sensationalist, media-oriented declarations." Actually, companies like Mattel have made strides in recent years to improve workplace conditions in China, but the supply lines are so extensive on many of these products that inevitably bad stuff happens.