WDM campaigned on the rights of workers in toy factories between 1995 and 1996 and in 1998.
Three out of every four toys bought in the UK have been made in Asia. China alone produces over a third of the world’s toys. Much of this work is subcontracted by the big toy companies to Asian factories. Research undertaken in China by the Hong Kong Coalition for the Charter on the Safe Production of Toys revealed that workers are not being adequately protected and their health and safety continue to be undermined by long hours, low pay and at times perilous working conditions.
Following major fires and deaths in toy factories in Thailand and China, WDM representatives visited Thailand to see factories and meet workers. This led to the launch of a UK campaign in partnership with Asia Monitor Resource Centre in Hong Kong, Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR) and the TUC, to press for a code of conduct on the production of toys.
In January 1996, the British Toy and Hobbies Association (BTHA) agreed their own health and safety code. This closely matched the code promoted by WDM and the Asian campaigners, except there was no recognition of trade union negotiating rights, and there was to be no independent monitoring. The impact of the code is being monitored in Asia, but so far there is little sign of any significant improvements in working conditions.
For further information on the current campaign please contact: