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Sweden exploits factory workers in China: report

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07:26 CEST+02:00
Swedish businesses with production facilities in China have been criticized for the poor conditions the Chinese workers suffer, according to a new report from the labour rights watchdog Swedwatch.

The businesses are responsible for making Chinese workers struggle with extremely long work days, dangerous machinery, and bad working environments, according to the report.

“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.

During the spring, visits were made to five Chinese factories that make products for Swedish companies Jula, Biltema, Rusta and Clas Ohlson.

The working conditions were bad, according to the Swedwatch report, with the worst being the suppliers of sun chairs and air mattresses for Jula and Biltema.

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

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

“Back then, Clas Ohlson didn't 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.”

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.

TT/The Local/og

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