With Christmas three weeks away, an undercover investigation has revealed the bleak realities of life in Chinese toy factories serving a market worth £2.8bn a year in the UK alone.
Big brands such as Disney, Lego and Marks & Spencer pay only a fraction of the shop price of products to the factories that make their toys. Last summer – as factories geared up to cope with demand for the Christmas period – investigators spent three weeks in the industrial cities of Shenzhen and Dongguan. In some cases, they found that employees:
? worked up to 140 hours overtime a month;
? were paid up to a month late;
? claimed they were expected to work with dangerous tools and machines without training or safety measures;
? had to work in silence and were fined up to £5 for going to the toilet without permission.