In a new investigation from the China Labor Watch (CLW), “Wal-Mart’s Road to Sustainability: Paved with False Promises?”, the CLW reports on the Wal-Mart’s extreme exploitation of foreign factory workers – amongst many other egregious acts they’ve detailed.
The CLW has found, as a result of investigations from April to June of this year, that violations at one of Wal-Mart’s suppliers, the Huasheng Packaging Factory, include:
• Elaborate system to cheat Wal-Mart audits.
• Some workers make only $0.51/hour, 60% of the minimum wage.
• Poor working conditions: workers inhale large amounts of paper particles and other debris.
• Twelve workers live together in cramped dorms
• Workers not paid overtime wages.
• During busy period, workday is 11 hours or 77 hours per week, and overtime is mandatory
Please help us by taking action and voicing your concern about Wal-Mart, and please continue reading for more from CLW’s press release.
This is merely the latest, and one of the most grievous, examples of Wal-Mart saying one thing and doing another, in their long running anti-labor track record. Americans cannot continue to support the world’s largest retailer while it remains in support of some of the world’s worst labor standards.
CLW has also written a letter (pdf) to Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke, and you can read their full report here (pdf).
CLW also reports that recent violations at another facility, the Hantai Shoe Factory – who they began investigating in July of 2008, also include:
• Overtime only paid up to Wal-Mart’s limits. When overtime surpasses the limit, extra wages are not paid until the following month.
• Workers forced to lie to Wal-Mart inspectors.
• 5 hours overtime daily. If workers request not to work overtime once, they will be denied any overtime for a month.
• Disguised layoffs to avoid paying severance payments to workers. Workers are abused by management or switched to undesirable jobs until they quit voluntarily.
The CLW’s press release goes on to conclude:
“These issues represent only a portion of the problems CLW has discovered in these two factories. In nearly 10 years of investigating Wal-Mart’s Chinese supply chain, CLW has identified these same violations at the majority of Wal-Mart’s suppliers. In terms of labor violations, Hantai is one of Wal-Mart’s better factories and Huasheng is one of its worse, yet no where are Wal-Mart’s standards actually met.
As the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart has the ability and responsibility to implement higher standards. CLW Executive Director, Li Qiang, stated, “Wal-Mart’s Social Responsibility standards are merely a public relations gimmick and have not actually been implemented; they are a cost-free way to improve public perceptions of Wal-Mart.”
Although Chinese workers lack recourse against abuses suffered in Wal-Mart’s supply chain, the world can condemn Wal-Mart’s unethical behavior.
The China-U.S. Economic and Strategic Dialogue, which opened in Washington today, will focus on economic, environmental and security cooperation. CLW calls on senior officials of both governments to encourage multinational companies to improve labor conditions in their supply chains and promote effective implementation of China ‘s Labor Contract Law.”