VTech refutes "inhuman" factory working conditions claims
VTech has rejected claims made by the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights (IGLHR) in an article in the UK’s The Sun newspaper that working conditions in its Chinese factories are “cruel, inhuman and illegal”.
The human rights group alleges that employees are paid 70 cents per hour, sleep in overcrowded dorms and that conditions are so dire that “many young workers [are] leaping to their deaths”.
The allegations centre on the telecommunications factories and not those where Vtech toys are made. The report was initiated in response to American jobs moving to China.
Several of the company’s telecommunication customers have since visited the telephone factory and have concluded that there is no substance to the allegations.
The International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI) is an independent body that set up the Care Program that audits toy factory compliance and adherence to labour and wage laws in China and Hong Kong.
VTech employees in the factory that produces the company’s award-winning range of electronic learning toys, VTech (Dungguan) Electronics Limited, have laboured under the auspices of the ICTI Care Program since 7 November 2011 when the Class A - Seal of Compliance - Seal number C0023was issued.
The Class A is the highest seal a factory can receive under the program’s guidelines and is valid until 6 May 2013.
“The trend of American job losses moving to China, is a trend not specific to the toy industry or America and certainly not a new trend,” said Australian VTech distributor Modern Brands sales and Marketing GM Tim Clarke.
“The telephone industry, and specifically the Vtech telecommunications business and factory (not the Vtech toy business) was the company targeted in the report.”
In a statement the company said it categorically rejects the allegations and is considering taking appropriate legal action.
“VTech is a responsible and caring employer wherever it has operations, and this includes Mainland China. The group and its subsidiaries abide strictly by the legal requirements relating to employment in all jurisdictions where it operates, including Mainland China.
“Emphasis is placed on people-oriented management to ensure harmonious staff relations, especially in the group’s manufacturing facilities. VTech takes care to ensure that the work environment is safe and that employees are adequately housed and cared for.
“VTech is widely acknowledged for its excellent human resources management and has a long track record of good labour relations in Mainland China, where it is a pioneer among Hong Kong companies in establishing operations, and where it currently employs approximately 33,000 people.”