Date: Tue, 5 Aug 1997 09:19:46 -0400
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
Subject: UPDATE: Toy campaign
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 1997 19:55:42 +0800 (HKT)
From: AMRC <amrc@HK.Super.NET>
Subject: Toy campaign

Toy campaign

From Coalition for the Charter on the Safe Production of Toys
5 August, 1997

Protest against the chairman of the Hong Kong Toy Manufacturers Association for exploiting workers, and call for the adoption of code of conduct

Since the Kader factory fire in Thailand and the Zhili factory fire in China, Hong Kong toy manufacturers became known as notorious sweatshop operators throughout of the world. In May of this year, there was yet another fire in a Hong Kong owned toy factory, this time in Guangdong Province. Moreover, the factory's managers hired child labour as young as 12 years old. They also withheld two month salaries from the workers and keep their I.D. cards, practices which directly violate the labour law.

According to a survey we conducted in December 1996, Zhongshan International, which is owned by the chairman of the Toy Manufacturers Association of Hong Kong, stood out as one of the worst example of labour law violators. When first joining the factory, workers must pay RMB50 for the working I.D. and pay RMB30 for a deposit. Moreover, they need to pay RMB5 for the labour service fee each month and RMB60 for meals. The workers work 16 hours a day on average but get a mere RMB0.3 per hour for overtime work. Workers often work over night. Despite the long hours, the workers only get around RMB300 per month, which is in violation of the Labour Law given the hours worked.

A group of labour NGOs in Hong Kong are monitoring the working conditions of workers in the toy industry. We drafted a charter on the safe production of toys and demanded the endorsement by the Hong Kong Toys Council. In July 1997, the Hong Kong Toys Council responded positively and circulated a code of conduct to their members. When asked to discuss the adoption and implementation of the code, the chairman of the Toy Manufactures Association of Hong Kong became defensive and refused to discuss the code of conduct. This is the wrong approach and will only create a poor image of the Hong Kong toys manufacturers and provide an opportunity for the protectionists from foreign countries to launch sanctions against the toys produced by Hong Kong manufacturers.

We demand the Hong Kong Toy Manufactures Association to:

  1. improve the working conditions of the Zhongshan toy factory;
  2. start dialogue with the Hong Kong labour NGOs;
  3. adopt code of conduct for their members, following the lead set by the ICTI, TMA, TME and many other toy councils around the world who have already adopted various codes of conduct.

Please send a message of protest to:
Toy Manufacturers Association of Hong Kong,
Fax No: (852)2422-1639.

For more details, please contact:
Coalition for the Charter on the Safe Production of Toys
3/F, 57 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 23665860
Fax: (852) 27245098

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