The Shanghai Disney Resort is due to open up to the Public. Disney Resort’s establishment in China does not bring improvement to working and living conditions for Chinese workers. In contrast to the bright Disney resort, workers at the Disney-authorized manufacturers work 11 hours a day, eat unhygienic food, and live in a small and dirty dorm, crowded with dozens of roommates.
The toy industry is the most exploitative of its workers, and Disney is one the largest beneficiaries of this exploitation.
In May 2016, China Labor Watch conducted an undercover investigation at two companies located in Dongguan, Guangdong: Donguan Lam Sum Plastic Products Co Ltd, and Dongguan Zhenyang Toy Co Ltd. Both of them are manufacturers for international toy brands. Zhengyang’s clients include: Disney, MGA Entertainment, Smoby, NSI International, Buengna, Black+Decker, 3D Coin Art, and Lamsung’s clients include Disney, Famosa, Spin Master, Crayola, Air hogs. Both of these factories have passed Disney’s International Labor Standards audits and are authorized to make Disney products. (See the pictures below Disney’s conduct of Code pasted on these two factories’ workshops) Also, many of these toys are sold in Wal-mart. Our investigator worked in both factories as production line workers. Through this undercover investigation, we found many problems with working conditions. (Please click here to read the full report)
(Disney Conduct of Code in Zhenyang)
(Disney Conduct of Code in Lam Sun)
In both factories, workers often need to work 11 hours a day, 66 hours a week, but their hourly wages are only around 1.3 to 1.5 USD/hour.
What’s more horrifying is that workers don’t complain about overtime, and in fact are looking for more overtime hours. This is because their wages are too low, and their only means of raising their income is by working more overtime.
When making toys, workers are exposed to a variety of toxic chemicals, but are not provided with any occupational safety training or sufficient occupational protective equipment. That is to say, workers are completely unprotected while working in a poisonous environment for more than ten hours every day.
The lodging and food are terrible as well. The dormitory is too crowded to put in any furniture other than beds, and workers have often found foreign matter in their food.
Workers brief lunch time is also compressed. When workers are having lunch, the automated machines on the production line do not stop. Workers have to finish lunch as soon as possible, then return to their workshops to deal with the piled up backlog of products.
The blame for this kind of unfair treatment is not merely the fault of the suppliers, as large international brands manipulate things from behind the scenes. All big brands claim that they have an effective third party audit system, that workers are treated fairly, and working conditions are improving every year. However, most of the third part audits are superficial, and do not really conduct an in-depth investigation of their suppliers. Big brands and suppliers will not permit them to do this. Third part audits are just a tool for public relations.
China Labor Watch has been committed to advocating for the fair treatment of Chinese workers. In the past eight years, we have published 7 reports on the toy industry. However, to improve workers’ treatment we need the support of consumers. We need consumers of these toy brands to help push companies like Disney and Walmart to be more responsible, and share their profits with workers. Without consumers’ action, improvement in workers’ treatment will never be achieved.