Sweden exploits factory workers in China

A report on 27 June 2012 suggests that Swedish businesses with production facilities in China have been criticised for the poor conditions the Chinese workers have to put up with.


According to the report from labour rights watchdog, Swedwatch, the businesses are responsible for making Chinese workers struggle with extremely long work days, dangerous machinery, and bad working environments.


“The companies themselves provided us with a number of addresses, so one can assume they are good examples, yet there were work places where people worked on contract, without breaks, and in bad lighting,” said Kristina Areskog Bjurling of Swedwatch to the TT news agency.


According to the Swedwatch report, when visits were made in spring to five Chinese factories that make products for Swedish companies Jula, Biltema, Rusta and Clas Ohlson, the outcome were bad working conditions, the worst being the suppliers of sun chairs and air mattresses for Jula and Biltema.


“The working times were too long, 11 to 13 hours a day and at Jula’s factory, workers were only given one day off a month. The Chinese law clearly states workers should have one day off a week,” Bjurling told TT.


However, both Clas Ohlson and Rusta are apparently taking more responsibility now than they did in 2005.


“Back then, Clas Ohlson did not even know where the goods were being produced, but now they have roughly 500 inspections each year as well as staff and offices on-site. Rusta has more resources on the way,” she added.


Household goods retailer, Jula, had the weakest corporate social responsibility follow-up, but CEO Joachim Frykberg told TT that this will soon change.


“After the summer we’re going to have people in China who only work to ensure the deliveries meet the requirements we set,” Frykberg said.

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