China Labor Watch to lead a street protest against McDonald’s, Intertek


NEW YORK – On March 27, 2014 at 12:30 pm, China Labor Watch will lead a street demonstration to protest labor violations in McDonald’s Chinese toy factories and the ineffectiveness of social auditing in ensuring the labor rights of Chinese workers, as exemplified by the a leading social auditing company Intertek.

The demonstration will be held outside of the Ethical Sourcing Forum (810 7th Avenue, NYC), where multinational brand companies and social auditing companies will meet to discuss their “20 years of transparency”. Both McDonald’s and Intertek will be delivering speeches at this forum.

Three times since 1998, CLW has investigated a McDonald’s toy factory called Merton in Dongguan, China. Each investigation has revealed a number of labor violations, including excessive overtime, unpaid social insurance, an unsafe working environment, unlawful worker fines, and more. In most cases, these are not only legal violations, they are also violations of McDonald’s own code of conduct.

In 2002, McDonald’s head of compliance said in a letter to CLW that “we have and will continue to work with Merton to bring them into compliance with our code of conduct.” Despite this, in both 2009 and 2013, CLW investigation found the labor violations were practically the same. McDonald’s must stop making empty promises to the public and violating the labor rights of Chinese workers.

The demonstration will also target Intertek, one of the largest social auditing companies in the world. This company represents the ineffective and flawed system that brand companies like McDonald’s use to “prove” they are treating workers legally and ethically. But more often than not, a social audit—paid for either by the factory they are meant to inspect or by the brand company who wants a clean audit report in order to produce at the factory—are hasty, flawed, and sometimes fraudulent. CLW has even revealed bribery of Intertek auditors.

CLW will demand that Intertek take real steps to uphold social and legal standards by increasing the public transparency in its auditing processes.

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